Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Press Releases

May 15 2018

Heitkamp, Hatch Introduce Bill to Protect Police Officers from Violence

Heitkamp Also Cosponsoring Senate Resolution Designating This Week as National Police Week

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced bipartisan legislation to address ambushes and violence against police officers.

The Protect and Serve Act would create a new federal crime for targeted attacks on law enforcement officers. The bill would makes it a federal crime to knowingly cause bodily injury to any person, or attempt to do so, because of the actual or perceived status of the person as a law enforcement officer.

Heitkamp is also cosponsoring a U.S. Senate resolution designating the week of May 13 as National Police Week. The resolution honors the 129 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2017, including Rolette County sheriff’s deputy Colt Allery whose name will be added to the National Peace Officers Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Last year, fallen Fargo police officer Jason Moszer’s name was added to the memorial. Heitkamp will attend the memorial service today, just as she did last year.

“In rural and urban areas alike, law enforcement officers face heightened risk every time they put on their uniforms,” Heitkamp said. “They work every day to keep our communities and families safe – an important and difficult job. We should honor their service by doing everything we can to protect them, and we must address targeted violence toward peace officers across the country. Our bipartisan bill would make clear that attacks against law enforcement officers based on their role to protect and serve the community will be met with harsh penalties, and that these crimes will be elevated and prioritized. Our peace officers walk out the door every day not knowing what awaits them during the next shift – we must make sure that all of our officers know that we have their back when they report for duty to keep our communities strong and safe.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers across the country put their lives on the line to protect us from harm,” said Hatch. “We are all indebted to them for their sacrifices and their service to our communities, which is why we must do all that we can to protect them.  They know the risks, but what no law enforcement officer signs up for is to be violently ambushed simply for being a police officer.  These heinous, cowardly assaults are an attack not just on law enforcement, but on the rule of law. The Protect and Serve Act of 2018 makes clear that no criminal will be able to escape justice when he singles out and assaults those who put on the badge every day to keep us safe.”

Specifically, the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 would:

  • Make it a federal crime to knowingly cause bodily injury to any person, or attempt to do so, because of the actual or perceived status of the person as a law enforcement officer;
  • Prescribe a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment for a violation, or up to a life sentence in cases that result in death or involve kidnapping;
  • Require that the offense have a federal nexus;
  • Require certification by the Attorney General that a state has waived jurisdiction or that federal prosecution is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice; and
  • Require the Attorney General to issue guidelines for determining whether a crime was committed because of the actual or perceived status of person as a law enforcement officer.

 

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Contact Senator Heitkamp's press office at press@heitkamp.senate.gov