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Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

Bill seeks to create federal penalties for criminals targeting law enforcement

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Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) joined 16 colleagues to introduce this week legislation designed to create federal penalties for individuals deliberately targeting local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.

The Protect and Serve Act would make it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer.

Last year, more than 300 officers were shot in the line of duty while 47 officers were shot and killed, and more than 300 officers lost their lives to COVID-19. This year 14 officers have been killed by others in the line of duty, officials said.

“Attacks on law enforcement officers are an attack of the rule of law and the safety and security of the American people,” Portman said. “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.”

The legislation would ensure an offender could receive a life sentence if a death results from the offense, or the offense includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or attempted murder.

Additionally, authorities have indicated the law would apply to federal law enforcement officers and apply to state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case.