U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has introduced the Protect Our Heroes Act, legislation to make it a federal crime to assault or kill a public safety officer and add a penalty in the event an officer is lured to a location for an ambush attack.
“We ask so much of our men and women in law enforcement – sending them into precarious, often dangerous situations to resolve disputes, enforce our laws, hold criminals to account, and protect the safety of our families,” said Senator Sullivan. “Unfortunately, in spite of their selflessness and dedication, we’ve seen far too many attacks on first responders in recent years. Policemen, troopers, judges, firefighters, and other brave public servants shouldn’t have to fear being assaulted or ambushed in the course of performing their duties. National Police Week – specifically, National Peace Officers Memorial Day – is a fitting opportunity to highlight this legislation, amend our criminal laws to reflect how abhorrent these kinds of attacks are, and show our courageous public safety officials that we have their backs.”
The Protect Our Heroes Act will:
·Create a federal crime for the assault or killing of a police officer.
·Create a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for attempted murder, and 30 years for the murder of an officer with the possibility of capital punishment.
·Create a mandatory minimum for assaulting a public safety officer with increased sentences for serious bodily harm inflicted on an officer.
·Add an additional penalty, with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, for luring an officer into an ambush attack.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that 135 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016, the highest in a five-year period. In 2015, more than 50,000 assaults were committed against law enforcement officers. Total ambush-style attacks, committed against 21 officers in 2015, have reached a twenty-year high. Over the last decade, seven law enforcement officers have lost their lives in Alaska.