Dear Senator Tillis,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for legislation you have introduced, S. 774, the “Protect and Serve Act.” This bill is a legislative priority for the FOP and takes on a particular urgency in the wake of the most recent ambush attack on a Chicago Police officer just outside his station on Sunday. The officer suffered minor wounds to the face and is expected to recover. The shooters are still not in custody.
The legislation would impose Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence. In 2020, 313 officers were shot in the line of duty, 47 of whom were killed by gunfire. There were 44 ambush attacks on law enforcement officers, which resulted in 52 officers being shot, 12 of whom were killed. So far this year, 56 officers have been shot, which includes five from your home State of North Carolina, and 12 of those 56 officers were killed.
These types of attacks, and violence targeting law enforcement officers in general, have been steadily increasing in recent years. A recent 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. When a member of the public calls for help, we answer that call.