Dear Representative Calvert,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to ask you, as a member who represents constituents who have experienced targeted violence against police in or near your district, to cosponsor H.R. 743, the “Protect and Serve Act.”
On 13 January, Deputy Darnell Calhoun of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office was responding to a domestic violence call. He was the first officer on the scene and was shot several times before the second deputy arrived and engaged the suspect. Deputy Calhoun was rushed to the hospital but did not survive his injuries. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and two young sons. His killer was also shot and is in the hospital in critical condition.
In response to the surge of violence targeting law enforcement officers in the form of calculated and ambush-style attacks, like the kind which resulted in Deputy Calhoun’s death, the FOP is pushing the House to consider legislation that would make it a Federal crime, in certain limited circumstances, to deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence. In 2018, you voted in favor of this bill on the House floor, which passed on an overwhelming 382-35 vote.
So far this year, nine officers were shot in ambushes and two officers, your Deputy Calhoun and, more recently Officer Gonsalvo Carrasco, Jr. of the Selma, California Police Department, were killed. Overall last month 34 officers were shot in the line of duty—an 89% increase compared to the number of officers shot in the same month in 2021 and a 113% increase compared to 2020. This is a stark reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm’s way due to the dangerous nature of their profession, but that they are the targets of violent individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
Ambush-style attacks and violence targeting law enforcement officers have been steadily increasing in recent years. A May 2019 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, 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.
Considering these chilling facts and the loss of your Deputy Calhoun, we are asking you to cosponsor H.R. 743 to address the national problem of ambushes and unprovoked attacks on our nation’s law enforcement officers. No officer should be at risk of being targeted while simply sitting in their patrol car, standing post, or heading home at the end of a shift. When a member of the public calls for help, we answer that call. We are asking for your help now and urge you to cosponsor this bill so that we can once again send it to the House floor for a vote.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for considering the FOP’s urgent request to cosponsor H.R. 743. If I can provide any additional information about this bill, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.