Supporting Law Enforcement

Senator Tillis has been a champion for local, state, and federal law enforcement and has been a national leader in advancing legislation to ensure they have the tools, resources, and support they need to protect the public and stay safe while in the line of duty.

Tillis honors fallen N.C. law enforcement officers

Senator Tillis delivered a speech on the Senate floor honoring the North Carolina law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty over the last year to commemorate National Police Week.

“This bill is critical, as there is a serious and growing trend of armed attacks on law enforcement officers…. We thank Senator Tillis for championing this legislation and for his support of the law enforcement community.

National Association of Police Organizations

Tillis Backs the Blue

Protect and Serve Act
Senator Tillis has led the introduction of the Protect and Serve Act, legislation that would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately our brave law enforcement officers with violence. The legislation is strongly supported by law enforcement organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police.

Public Safety Officer Support Act
This legislation sponsored by Senator Tillis expands benefits to law enforcement for new areas, such as PTSD, ASD, and personal injury if they are caused by events endured in the line of duty. Benefits for suicide and related disability will automatically be presumed to have been caused by work-related events. This legislation was signed into law in 2022.

Protecting America's First Responders Act
Senator Tillis co-sponsored legislation to make improvements to the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program. The PSOB program provides death, disability, and education benefits to public safety officers and survivors of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty or permanently disabled as a result of catastrophic injuries sustained in the line of duty. The legislation became law in 2021.

Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Act
Law enforcement officers routinely have to deal with challenging scenarios and this legislation sponsored by Senator Tillis improves training for officers interacting with individuals dealing with mental or behavioral health issues. Officers are trained in de-escalation tactics and working with mental health professionals on crisis intervention teams. The legislation was signed into law in 2022.

The Recruit and Retain Act
Senator Tillis has sought to address the recruitment and hiring challenges that law enforcement agencies across the country have been experiencing through the Department of Justice COPS Program. This legislation allows the program to cover certain new hiring costs, such as administrative costs and psych evaluations, which are important for background investigations of prospective officers.

Working Across the Aisle to Pass Criminal Justice Reform at the Federal Level

In the U.S. Senate, Thom has been a proponent for smart criminal justice reform that seeks to reduce crime and recidivism through informed rehabilitation policies. Thom was instrumental in brokering a compromise for the bipartisan FIRST STEP Act that helped the legislation earn more bipartisan support in the Senate, eventually passing the chamber and being signed into law by President Donald Trump.

The FIRST STEP Act represents one of the most significant efforts to overhaul America’s criminal justice system in a generation, aiming to reduce crime by helping low-risk inmates prepare to successfully rejoin society through participation in proven recidivism reduction and professional development programs. It also improves fairness in prison sentences by recalibrating certain mandatory minimum sentences, granting greater discretion for judges in sentencing of low-level, nonviolent drug crimes, and clarifying congressional intent on sentencing enhancements for certain crimes involving firearms. It also preserves the maximum potential sentences for violent and career criminals.

I’m a conservative Republican who believes in getting results, which requires working across the aisle and finding common ground. I view criminal justice reform as a major policy area where the head and heart meet. It makes sense on so many levels, and when done right, criminal justice reform makes our communities safer, families stronger, and individuals more productive and prosperous.

Senator Thom Tillis

Sen. Tillis has been instrumental in advancing bipartisan criminal justice reform. His continued engagement has helped to promote policy that reduces crime and recidivism, saves tax dollars, improves fairness in sentencing and supports law enforcement.

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman

As many have commented, the American criminal justice system is badly broken, and I commend Senator Tillis for his hard work and leadership in North Carolina, and so many other of my colleagues here.

Senator Chris Coons (D-DE)

Leading on Criminal Justice Reform in North Carolina

Thom has been a longtime advocate of criminal justice reform and has been instrumental in successfully implementing criminal justice reform at both the state and federal level. He recognizes that when done right, reform can strike the balance between reducing crime, making our communities safer, and ensuring our justice system is more equitable.

As North Carolina Speaker of the House, Thom spearheaded the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act, sweeping criminal justice reform legislation. This law places an emphasis on rehabilitation and reducing the likelihood of returning to prison, requiring those incarcerated on felony charges to be supervised for 9 to 12 months following their release.

In the years immediately following the passage of the law, there was a reduction in North Carolina’s prison population and a significant, double-digit decrease in the recidivism rate. The N.C. Department of Public Safety estimates that the law has also saved hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

The Justice Reinvestment Act spearheaded by Thom has proven to be a success for North Carolina.

  • Crime Rate: Down 25% (2011-2017)
  • Prison Population: Down 10.6%
  • Recidivism Rate: 10.8% Drop in Reconvictions and 13.2% Drop in Re-Incarcerations (2011-2017)
  • 11 Correctional Facilities Closed
  • The state has saved approximately $229 million that can be attributed to policies enacted through the JRA, while nearly $47.8 million has been reinvested.
    Council of State Governments
    Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice