Dear Representatives Rutherford, Gottheimer, Stefanik, Ruppersberger, Stauber, and Golden:
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for H.R. 743, the “Protect and Serve Act.”
This legislation is a priority for the FOP and is a direct response to the increased number of attacks on law enforcement officers by imposing, in limited circumstances, Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence. In January, eight officers were shot in ambushes which resulted in the death of one officer. Overall last month 34 officers were shot in the line of duty—a 89% increase compared to the number of officers shot at the same month in 2021 and a 113% increase compared to 2020.
Ambush attacks and violence targeting law enforcement officers in general 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 (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. To be in law enforcement is to put yourself in harm’s way, but no officer should be at risk while simply sitting in their patrol car, standing a post, or heading for home at the end of a shift.
We believe the House should act now—just as it did when it passed this same legislation as recently as in 2018 on an overwhelming 382-35 vote. Passing the “Protect and Serve Act” would be a strong show of support for the men and women in the line of fire and send a clear message to those who would seek to do them harm.
On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for your leadership and for your support of the men and women in law enforcement. I look forward to working with you and your staff to get this bill to the House floor for a vote. If I can provide any additional information or support for this effort, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.