WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Several U.S. senators have introduced the Protect and Serve Act — legislation that would create federal penalties for those who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
The Protect and Serve Act was introduced Thursday by Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.).
The new legislation would:
- Make it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders are subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
- An offender could receive a life sentence if a death results from the offense or the offense includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or attempted murder.
“Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe, and the dramatic rise in senseless acts of violence against LEOs causing injury or loss of life is simply unacceptable,” said Tillis. “I am committed to supporting the men and women who swear an oath to protect us, and that is why I am proud to introduce this legislation that would create federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement officers. Particularly after the recent attacks on North Carolina Sheriff Deputy Ryan Hendrix and officers in Los Angeles, it is time to pass this legislation and send a clear message that acts of violence like this are unacceptable and that there will be no escape from justice for these criminals.”
In 2020, there have been 37 law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. This is an increase of more than 20% since this time last year. Of those, eight were ambushed in premeditated attacks, two were victims of an unprovoked attack, and the other 27 officers were killed in the line of duty.
Tillis said the Protect and Serve Act would address this problem by giving federal prosecutors the tools they need to hold those accountable who target law enforcement for assault and attacks.
U.S. senators who are participating in this legislation include:
- U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC)
- John Kennedy (R-LA)
- Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
- Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
- Mike Rounds (R-SD)
- Rick Scott (R-FL)
- Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
- Tom Cotton (R-AR)
- Mike Braun (R-IN)
- Rob Portman (R-OH)
- David Perdue (R-GA)
- Richard Burr (R-NC)
- Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- James Inhofe (R-OK)
- John Boozman (R-AR)
The law would apply to federal law enforcement officers as well as state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case.
Companion legislation was introduced in 2019 by Congressman John Rutherford (FL-4) and Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10) in the House of Representatives.