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Bipartisan legislation to enhance federal penalties for targeting law enforcement officers

Washington, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Val Demings (FL-10), former chief of the Orlando Police Department, and Congressman John Rutherford (FL-4), former sheriff of Jacksonville, announced that they reintroduced H.R. 1325, the Protect and Serve Act of 2019. This bill passed the House last year with overwhelming bipartisan support but was not considered in the Senate. It would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.

Consider the following:

Rep. Val Demings
  • In 2016, 66 officers were shot and killed in the line of duty, 21 of which were ambush-style shootings.
  • In 2017, fewer officers died from shootings, but more officers were shot than in previous years.
  • In 2018, 22 officers were shot in ambush attacks, five of whom died.

These troubling numbers show a dangerous trend of armed attacks on law enforcement officers, and steps need to be taken to deter these actions.

“Law enforcement officers have a tough job and it’s an extremely dangerous one,” said Congresswoman Demings. “I know, I did it for 27 years. Last year in Florida two sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed while they were at a restaurant, trying to grab a meal before going back on patrol. Both deputies were in their twenties. Tragically, 22 officers were shot in ambush-style attacks nationwide last year. As law enforcement officers continue to work to enforce the laws with the highest moral and ethical standards and build relationships with the communities they serve, let’s continue to work to keep them safe.”

“As a career law enforcement officer and former sheriff, I know what officers go through every day when they put on their uniform, say goodbye to their families, and go out on the streets doing the important work of protecting our communities,” said Congressman Rutherford. “That is why we are reintroducing the Protect and Serve Act, which the House passed last year with strong bipartisan support. I will keep fighting to ensure steep consequences for anyone who targets our law enforcement officers and I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this bipartisan bill signed into law. I want to thank Congresswoman Val Demings for her leadership on this bill and for her support of law enforcement officers across the country.”

The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, and Major County Sheriffs of America.

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