Dear Representatives Garcia and Kim,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to ask all of you to once again cosponsor H.R. 3079, the “Protect and Serve Act.” This bipartisan piece of legislation was reintroduced by Representatives John H. Rutherford (R-FL) and Joshua S. Gottheimer (D-NJ). Each of you cosponsored H.R. 1325, an identical bill in the 116th Congress, and we ask that you support this bill again.
This legislation was developed as a direct response to the surge of violence directed at law enforcement officers in the form of calculated and ambush attacks. This bill would, in narrow and specific circumstances, impose Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence. It passed the Committee on the Judiciary unanimously in 2018 and then passed the full House by an overwhelming 382-35 vote.
So far this year, 162 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 30 of whom were killed. The lethality of these attacks would be much greater but for the dramatic improvements in medical trauma science and anti-ballistic technology. Fifty-nine law enforcement officers have been shot in ambush-style attacks this year, 15 of whom were killed. The increase of ambushes is another stark reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm’s way because of the dangerous nature of their profession, they are also targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
These types of violent attacks have been steadily increasing in recent years. A report from the Federal Bureau of Investigations 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, standing post, or were targeted and killed while at their home or on their way home.
Considering these chilling facts, we are asking you to cosponsor once again the “Protect and Serve Act” 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.
On behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for considering the FOP’s request to cosponsor the “Protect and Serve Act.” 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.