Dear Representatives Sarbanes, Brown, Hoyer, Trone, Mfume and Raskin,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to ask for your help in the wake of the horrific ambush-style attack on an officer with the Baltimore City Police Department. This attack was the third ambush on Maryland law enforcement in 2021—resulting in five officers being wounded. We are asking you both to help address this issue by cosponsoring H.R. 3079, the “Protect and Serve Act.”
While the investigation into the attack in Baltimore is currently ongoing, media reports about the incident state that Officer Keona Holley was sitting in her patrol car around 1:30am on 16 December. Her attackers approached from behind the vehicle and opened fire, striking Officer Holley, who remains on life support at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Two suspects have been arrested and charged with attempted murder, while the motive for attacking Officer Holley remains unknown. But we know that such brazen attacks on law enforcement officers—just because of the uniform they wear—have been increasing.
In response to this surge of violence directed at law enforcement officers in the form of calculated and ambush-style attacks, we worked with a bipartisan group of former law enforcement officers in the House that introduced H.R. 3079, the “Protect and Serve Act.” This legislation would impose Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence in very specific situations. In 2018, the Committee on the Judiciary voted unanimously to report this legislation favorably, and soon after, it was passed by the full House on an overwhelming 382-35 vote. With the exception of one Member absent from the chamber that day, every Member of the Maryland delegation who was part of the 115th Congress voted in favor of the legislation. We are asking all of you to support this same legislation again by cosponsoring H.R. 3079.
So far this year, 333 officers have been shot in the line of duty, 60 of whom were killed. The lethality of these attacks would be much greater but for the dramatic improvements in anti-ballistic technology and medical trauma science, as Officer Holley is receiving at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. This year, 127 officers have been shot in 102 separate ambush-style attacks, which has resulted in the deaths of 29 officers. The 126% increase of ambush-style attacks from this time in 2020 is another 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 cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer.
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, heading home at the end of a shift, or even responding to a 9-1-1 call. When a member of the public calls for help, we answer that call. Now, we are asking for your help and urge you to cosponsor this bill so that we can send it to the Senate 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. 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.