WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke on the Senate floor and urged his colleagues to pass the Protect and Serve Act, legislation he introduced that would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.
Watch the speech here.
“The Senate should take the lead and pass meaningful legislation to protect law enforcement officers, increase funding, improve training, and raise standards,” said Senator Tillis. “That's why I again call on my colleagues to support and pass the Protect and Serve Act, a bill that I introduced that I hope we can get passed. The Protect and Serve Act would punish dangerous criminals who murder a law enforcement officer in the line of duty.”
“We cannot sit idly by and allow for the streets to be filled with dangerous, violent criminals who face no consequences,” Senator Tillis continued. “Instead, we must speak up and show our men and women in blue that we respect them and we back them. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them.”
Senator Tillis introduced the legislation last month with Senators 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).
In 2020, there have been 41 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, two were victims of an unprovoked attack, and the other 31 officers were killed in the line of duty. 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 Protect and Serve Act would support law enforcement officers by:
- Making 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.
This law would apply to federal law enforcement officers and would also apply to state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case. Companion legislation was introduced last year by Congressman John Rutherford (FL-4) and Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10) in the House of Representatives.
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.