Rounds, Colleagues Lead Effort to Punish Criminals for Targeting Law Enforcement Officers
WASHINGTON–U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today joined Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and a number of their Senate colleagues to introduce 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.
“South Dakota’s law enforcement officers are men and women with families just like ours, who put their lives in danger every day to protect our communities,” said Rounds. “As a nation based on law and order, law enforcement officers have a critical role in our society. They do not have an easy job--it takes courage, selflessness and a desire to make your community safer. Our bill will help to make sure that individuals who target and violently attack officers will be held fully accountable for their criminal actions.”
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, two were victims of an unprovoked attack, and the other 27 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 accountable those 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.
In addition to Rounds and Tillis, the legislation was introduced by U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).
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.
Text of the legislation can be found here.
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