Law Enforcement Protection Act

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Law Enforcement Protection Act

A little over a month ago, a heavily armed man gunned down police officers in downtown Dallas, leaving five officers dead and many others wounded. This is just one of many recent incidences that have occurred across the country. Law enforcement officers are increasingly coming under fire simply because of the job they hold and the uniform they wear. Texas must send a firm and resolute message that the state will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities. To address this issue, Governor Abbott has called upon state legislators to strengthen penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers. If elected to represent District 126, I plan to propose a piece of legislation that strengthens the criminal penalties for crimes against law enforcement officers.

Facts and Figures:

  • 4,330 Texas Law Enforcement Officers were assaulted in the line of duty in 2014.
  • Those assaults resulted in the injury of the officer 38% of the time.
  • There were three felonious deaths committed in Texas during 2014 and eleven in 2015, an increase of 27%.
  • Assaults on law enforcement officers have increased nationwide, with 26 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 alone. Of those killed, 11 were ambushes on police officers.
  • This year, national law enforcement officer deaths are up by 44% from 2015 with a quarter of the year still left.

assaulted

 

Hate Crime Protections:

  • A hate crime is defined by the Texas Government Code as a crime that is motivated by prejudice, hatred, or advocacy of violence based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or gender.
  • The criminal penalty for a hate crime is determined by a variety of factors depending on the motivation for the crime, the use of force or weapons and the eventual outcome of the crime.
  • If a crime is determined to be a hate crime, the punishment for the offense will be more severe and lengthy when compared to punishments for non-prejudice based offenses of the same nature.
Hate Crime in Texas 2014 2013 % Change
Reported Incidents 166 135 +22.9
Reported Victims 190 176 +8.0
Reported Offenders 198 175 +13.1
Reported Offenses 167 136 +22.8

Source: Texas DPS

Key Provisions of my Proposed Law Enforcement Protection Bill:

  • Extend hate crime protections to all law enforcement officers.
  • Increase penalties for any crime in which the victim is a law enforcement officer, whether or not the crime qualifies as a hate crime.
  • Create a culture of respect for law enforcement by organizing a campaign to educate young Texans on the value law enforcement officers bring to their communities.