Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins cosponsored the Protect and Serve Act, legislation that would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
In 2020, there have been 37 law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. This is an increase of more than 20 percent since this time last year. Of those, eight were ambushed in premeditated attacks and two were victims of an unprovoked attack. 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.
“The brave men and women of our state, local, and federal law enforcement make sacrifices every day to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation would help to ensure that those who make up the ‘thin blue line’ are protected, holding those who target or attack law enforcement officers fully accountable for their criminal actions.”
Under the Protect and Serve Act:
· It would become a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders would be 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.
· The law would apply to federal law enforcement officers and to state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case.
The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, and Major County Sheriffs of America.
The legislation is also cosponsored by 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), and John Boozman (R-AR).
Companion legislation was introduced last year by Congressman John Rutherford (FL-4) and Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10) in the House of Representatives.