Blackburn Introduces Two Bills to Support Law Enforcement in Wake of Violence

September 17, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) cosponsored two critical bills to support law enforcement officials. The bills follow an uptick in violence against police which coincides with protests and riots across the country.

“Tennesseans hold our law enforcement officials in the highest regard, and expect us to provide support for them when needed,” Senator Blackburn said. “It’s unfortunate that the state of our public discourse has led us to this point.”

According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program, there have been 37 law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. in 2020. This is an increase of more than 20 percent since this time last year. Of those, eight were ambushed in premeditated attacks, two were victims of an unprovoked attack, and the other 27 officers killed in the line of duty.

Less than a week ago, a gunman shot two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in their patrol vehicle. Those officers were taken to the hospital for medical treatment, where protestors blocked the emergency entrance to the hospital.

This morning, Senator Blackburn joined Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in introducing the Protect and Serve Act to create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, state, or federal law enforcement officers with violence.

The Protect and Serve Act would support law enforcement officers by:

  • Making it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders are subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  • An offender could receive a life sentence if a death results from the offense, or the offense includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or attempted murder.

“This year, there have been over 20% more law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty than this time in 2019. This devastating fact can be directly accredited to the chaos that has been emboldened by elected officials who have refused to maintain law and order in their cities,” said Senator Blackburn.

Yesterday, Senator Blackburn joined Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) in introducing the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act to make it a federal offense to obstruct any ambulance, fire department vehicle, law enforcement vehicle or emergency personnel from responding to an emergency.

“The fact that anarchists and rioters blocked first responders racing to save the lives of two Los Angeles police officers is un-American, and must be met with appropriate penalties,” said Senator Blackburn.

Penalties for such obstruction would include imprisonment of one to five years, a fine or both.

The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Sergeants Benevolent Association, and Major County Sheriffs of America.

Both the Protect and Serve Act and the Stop Blocking Hospitals Act are endorsed by the National Association of Police Organizations.