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U.S. Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) joined forces to introduce new legislation to Congress that would impose “harsher penalties on individuals targeting law enforcement officers and first responders.”
The senators argue that, in doing so, the government can send the message that "police lives also matter."
According to a press release obtained by MRCTV on Tuesday:
“America has seen a rash of attacks on law enforcement officers. These include both the cold blooded, execution-style murders of law enforcement officers such as Pennsylvania State Trooper Corporal Bryon Dickson, and the killing of officers who are trying to protect others, such as Philadelphia Officer Robert Wilson, III. In response, Sens. Toomey and Sessions have introduced the Thin Blue Line Act, which imposes harsher penalties on individuals targeting law enforcement officers and first responders.”
“When a jury in a federal case considers whether to impose the death penalty, the jury must consider certain “mitigating” and “aggravating” factors. Current law states that if the murder victim was a federal law enforcement officer or prosecutor, this fact shall weigh as an aggravating factor in favor of the death penalty. The Thin Blue Line Act provides the same level of justice to local law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and firefighters. It also enhances the penalty when a defendant targets a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, or firefighter solely because that individual chose to protect and serve. Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) has introduced similar legislation in the House.”
Several state and national organizations have endorsed the “Thin Blue Line Act,” including the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, the National Sheriff’s Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Sen. Toomey argues that imposing harsher penalties is an important and meaningful way for Congress to help prevent attacks on law enforcement officers.
“It is important we send the message that police lives also matter, and that if you target a police officer with violence, you will receive a harsh penalty,” he said.
“Every day, our law enforcement officers and first responders place themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us. They also present tempting targets to criminals seeking retribution, and to organized crime rings seeking to discourage law enforcement officers from investigating them.
"Congress has long recognized that additional tools are needed to prevent such attacks on law enforcement officers," said Toomey.
“The alarming spike in violence directed against the men and women entrusted with ensuring the safety and order of our society must be stopped,” said Sen. Sessions.
“The 'Thin Blue Line Act' will help protect our officers by bringing harsher penalties to criminals committing these vile acts and by extending the protections afforded to federal officers to our local police and first responders.”
“This legislation honors the message sent by law-abiding Americans that we cannot stand idly by as attacks are waged upon those who serve and protect our communities.”