I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to ask all of you, as members of the Texas Congressional delegation who have experienced targeted violence against police in or near your districts, to cosponsor H.R. 3079, the “Protect and Serve Act.” 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, introduced by a bipartisan group of former law enforcement officers, would 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 with all of your votes by an overwhelming 382-35 vote.
So far this year, 136 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 26 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. Thirty-five law enforcement officers have been shot in ambush-style attacks this year, ten of whom were killed. In Texas, as of 7 June, 19 law enforcement officers have been shot, including three fatalities. There have been a number of ambushes in Texas, the most recent of which occurred on 26 May, west of Dallas. Sergeant Adam Quintana, Sergeant John Styne-Burns, and Officer Gregory Hall were responding to a call of a suicidal individual. When they entered the scene, the suspect opened fire, striking all three officers. The increase of ambushes in Texas is another stark reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm’s way because of the dangerous nature of their profession, but because they are the targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
These types of attacks and violence targeting law enforcement officers 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, sitting on post, or were targeted and killed while at their home or on their way home.
In light of these chilling facts, we are asking you to cosponsor H.R. 3079 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 a post, or heading for 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 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for considering the FOP’s urgent request to cosponsor H.R. 3079. 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.