WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and 16 of his colleagues reintroduced 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.
The legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Steve Daines (R-MT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Thune (R-SD), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Susan Collins (R-ME).
In 2020, more than 300 officers were shot in the line of duty and 47 officers were shot and killed, including North Carolina officers Ryan Hendrix, Tyler Herndon, and Jason Shuping. Additionally, more than 300 officers lost their lives to COVID-19.
“Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country are heroes who risk their lives every day to protect our communities,” said Senator Tillis. “Those who commit senseless acts of violence against law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions, which is why I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that creates federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them.”
“Attacks on law enforcement officers are an attack of the rule of law and the safety and security of the American people,” said Senator Portman. “I am pleased to support this bill to enhance penalties for crimes against those who put their lives on the line every day for the safety of communities across the country. We must hold those who target and assault law enforcement officers accountable for their actions and I hope this bill serves as a deterrent against future attacks.”
“I am proud to join Sen. Tillis in reintroducing the Protect and Serve Act which puts federal penalties in place to punish violent criminals who intentionally target our nation’s officers,” said Senator Inhofe. “The violence we’ve seen directed at law enforcement officers and other law-abiding Americans throughout the last year is appalling. I promise to continue to fight for the safety of those in Oklahoma and across the nation who put their lives on the line daily to protect us.”
“Rising crime rates and months of riots in cities across the country have put America’s police force in danger not seen for decades,” said Senator Hawley. “In Missouri, David Dorn, a retired police officer, was murdered by rioters while defending a friend’s store. Those who seek to harm or kill the brave men and women of law enforcement must face justice and I’m proud to work with my colleagues to ensure they do.”
“Law enforcement officers are part of the deep fabric of cities and small towns across our country. The work they do every day is essential for keeping families and communities safe,” said Senator Burr. “To knowingly cause injury to a law enforcement officer is a terrible act and should be a federal crime. This legislation lets our officers know there will be federal criminal consequences for those who seek to harm them in the line of duty.”
“Our brave law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and it’s disgusting that they have become targets of violence, harassment and abuse,” said Senator Scott. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to support the Protect and Serve Act to stand with the brave men and women of law enforcement who serve our communities. I’ll never stop fighting to support our law enforcement and ensure those who wish them harm are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day to help keep our communities safe and secure. It is alarming to see them increasingly targeted with violence as they perform their duties, adding to the dangers they must account for and reminding us of the serious threats they face. I am proud to join Senator Tillis and my colleagues to send a clear message that we stand with our police and will hold those who perpetrate attacks against them accountable,” said Senator Boozman.
“There is great risk involved in being a law enforcement officer, but the additional threat of ambushes and targeted attacks make the job harder and more dangerous for our men and women in blue,” said Senator Moran. “Violence against law enforcement is unacceptable; that is why I am joining my colleagues in introducing this legislation to create federal penalties for attacks on any law enforcement officers whether a Capitol Police officer or a Kansas patrolman.”
“It’s simple: if you intentionally target law enforcement officers with violence, you should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” said Senator Capito. “Those who protect and serve our communities across West Virginia and the rest of the country deserve to know we have their backs, and I’m proud to join this effort to discourage attacks on our police and support the men and women of law enforcement.”
“Montana law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day to keep our families and communities safe,” said Senator Daines. “We should return the favor by doing everything we can to ensure they are protected from senseless violence. Anyone who chooses to target law enforcement officers and cause harm must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Each and every day, our brave men and women in blue put their lives on the line to protect and serve our communities,” said Senator Blackburn. “Police officers run towards danger while innocent civilians head towards safety. The Justice Department should aggressively prosecute anyone who inflicts harm or violence on our law enforcement officers.”
“Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line day in and day out for the safety of communities across the country,” said Senator Thune. “Over the last year, we’ve seen a dangerous rise in attacks against those who have chosen to wear a badge. These kinds of attacks and violence against law enforcement officers are unacceptable and must be punished, which is why I am pleased to support this bill.”
“Any attack against police officers is unacceptable, but fringe activists and violent rioters have increasingly made them a target. We cannot allow that to continue, and there needs to be serious consequences to prevent it from happening,” said Senator Cramer. “The Protect and Serve Act sends our men and women in uniform a clear message of unequivocal support and lets them know the United States will always back the blue.”
“Intentional attacks on law enforcement officers are reprehensible and should be punished severely,” said Senator Wicker. “The recent uptick in violence against police has shown the need for stronger federal protections for those who defend our communities.”
“Law enforcement officers face enough job hazards already, so attacking these men and women simply for doing their jobs is inexcusable,” said Senator Cotton. “Our bill will help protect police by increasing penalties for the criminals who target them.”
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.
- Ensuring 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. Senator Tillis first introduced the Protect and Serve Act in 2020.
The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association (NYPD), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National Sheriffs Association, North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, and the Major County Sheriffs Association.
Read a one-pager of the legislation here.