I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to ask all of you, California members
of the Committee on the Judiciary, to cosponsor H.R. 1325, the “Protect and Serve Act,” which is especially
important in the wake of the vicious ambush attack on two deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department. This bill, introduced by a bipartisan group of former law enforcement officers, was passed by
the Committee unanimously and then passed the House on an overwhelming 382-35 vote in 2018. It is time
for the Committee to consider and favorably report this bill again and we need your support to make that
So far this year, 228 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 35 of whom died. The lethality of these
attacks would be much greater but for dramatic improvements in medical trauma science and anti-ballistic
technology. Twenty-four law enforcement officers have been ambushed this year, seven of whom were
killed. In California, 39 law enforcement officers have been shot since January 2019—including three who
were shot and killed in an ambush or unprovoked attack.
In January 2019, Officer Natalie B. Corona of the Davis Police Department responded to a multi-vehicular
crash when she was shot to death by a person with an animus toward the police department. She was 22
years old with just a few months on the job.
In June 2019, Officer Tara C. O’Sullivan of the Sacramento Police Department was assisting a domestic
abuse victim in moving her belongings when a man opened fire on her, her training officer and two other
responding officers. She was fatally wounded in the opening seconds of a fire fight which became a standoff
that lasted several hours. Local news coverage of her death reported that after she was ambushed the officer
had “no chance of survival.” She was 26 with just 6 months on the job.
In June of this year, Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office was among the
deputies who responded to a suspicious vehicle call. After observing another suspicious vehicle monitoring
the deputies’ response, Sgt. Gutzwiller and another deputy followed the vehicle, which pulled into a
driveway. The driver exited the vehicle and immediately opened fire on the deputies, killing Sgt. Gutzwiller
and wounding his partner. The killer carjacked another vehicle and later was involved in another shootout,
wounding a California Highway Patrol officer before being taken into custody. Sgt. Gutzwiller left behind a
very young child and an expectant wife.
The most recent attempted murder of the two deputies in Los Angeles County 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 targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law
enforcement officer. Congress should act and act now to address the terrible violence aimed at our law
enforcement officers by passing the “Protect and Serve Act,” which would impose Federal penalties on
individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence in specific
circumstances. This bill sends a strong message to the men and women in the line of fire and to those who
would seek to do them harm.
These types of attacks and violence targeting law enforcement officers, in general, has been steadily
increasing in recent years. A recent 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.
Despite these chilling facts, the 116th Congress has done nothing to address the national problem of
ambushes and unprovoked attacks on our nation’s law enforcement. Today, we are calling on you to honor
the memories of Officers Corona and O’Sullivan, as well as the sacrifice of the deputies who were ambushed
in Compton, by cosponsoring H.R. 1325, the “Protect and Serve Act.”
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 this Committee to consider the “Protect and Serve Act” and once more
send it to the House floor for a vote.
On behalf of the more than 355,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, I thank you for considering
the FOP’s urgent request to cosponsor H.R. 1325. If I can provide any additional information about this bill,
please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in my Washington, D.C. office.