Washington, DC - Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded the reintroduction of H.R. 3079, the “Protect and Serve Act.” The bipartisan bill was introduced by Representatives John H. Rutherford (R-FL) and Joshua S. Gottheimer (D-NJ).
“I am calling on the House to act swiftly on this legislation, which passed a nearly identical bill just three years ago on an overwhelming 382-35 vote,” Yoes said. “Just one week ago, Officer Brian Sherman of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department responded to a fake call for help. Upon arrival, he was struck by gunfire. Fortunately, the officer survived the incident, but the gunman committed suicide with a rifle before officers could take him into custody.”
This legislation would impose, in limited circumstances, Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence. In 2020, 313 officers were shot in the line of duty, 47 of whom were killed by gunfire. There were 44 ambush attacks on law enforcement officers, which resulted in 52 officers being shot, 12 of whom were killed. So far this year, 106 officers have been shot and 23 officers have been killed. Twenty-two of these attacks were ambushes, resulting in 27 officers having been shot, nine of whom died.
“Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Law enforcement officers, who serve their communities and put their lives on the line for fellow citizens, should not be hunted and targeted just because of the uniform that they wear,” Yoes said.
Ambush attacks and violence targeting law enforcement officers have been steadily increasing in recent years. A recent report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded: “While the overall number of officers who were feloniously killed was declining, the percentage of officers feloniously killed during surprise attacks was increasing.” A December 2017 study by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which examined law enforcement officer fatalities from 2010-2016, found that 20% of ambushed officers were seated in their patrol cars and 56% of officers killed in an ambush were not on a call or engaged in any enforcement activity. Many of these officers were simply eating, sitting on post, or were targeted and killed while at their home or on their way home.
“Law enforcement is a higher calling for those who take the oath to protect and serve. It is these men and women who run toward danger to protect the public when everyone else is running away,” stated Yoes. “I am grateful to Representatives Rutherford and Gottheimer for their leadership and I look forward to working with them and our other friends in the House to get this bill passed again.”