WASHINGTON, DC- Some are calling for laws that would create stronger penalties for people who assault or kill any police officer.
One such bill has been presented to lawmakers. It’s called the “Protect and Serve Act.”
“There’s a war on law enforcement,” said Patrick Yoes, President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Police officers say they need all the help they can get.
“There is definitely a crisis in public safety,” Yoes said.
Yoes wants more help from Congress.
“The Protect and Serve Act is definitely our top priority,” Yoes said.
The Protect and Serve Act would make it a federal crime to assault or kill a law enforcement officer.
Right now, charges are usually left to the states and some opponents say that’s how it should stay.
“There really is no extra role for the federal government,” said John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation.
Heritage Foundation Legal Expert John Malcom says local authorities already have all the legal authority they need.
“Any judge, if somebody is convicted, is going to take into account it was a law enforcement officer who was assaulted or killed and will no doubt ratchet up the perpetrator’s sentence,” says Malcolm.
Some say the feds should look at crimes against police like they would any other victim targeted for a specific reason.
“Our view is if you die in the line of duty, if you’re attacked, and you’re ambushed, we would hope the federal government would come in and treat that just the same as perhaps a civil rights violation,” said Jonathan Thompson, of the National Sheriffs’ Association.
But Malcolm says it could also lead to confusion.
“Whose responsibility is to investigate and prosecute this crime? Is it the state’s responsibility, is it the federal government’s responsibility?” asked Malcolm.
The bill was introduced in February. Supporters from both parties say it’s long past time for Congress to take action.