Washington, DC – The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has renewed its push for Congress to reintroduce hate crimes legislation that would make it a federal offense to target law enforcement officers with violence.
“Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop,” FOP President Chuck Canterbury said in a press release on Tuesday.
Canterbury said it’s now time for Congress to act.
“Last year saw the second fewest line of duty deaths in the last 50 years, but our officers are being killed or wounded by gunfire at a higher rate than before,” he said in the press release. “In 2016, 253 officers were shot in the line of duty, and 66 make the ultimate sacrifice. This past year we had 271 officers shot in the line of duty, and 45 who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is unacceptable to the men and women of law enforcement.”
Technology like body armor, improvements in EMS, and increased use of tourniquets are keeping more officers alive.
Most departments do not issue tourniquets, which is why Blue Lives Matter has given out over 400 tourniquets to active police officers.
If you are considering a tourniquet for yourself or to buy one for an officer, we believe that the the highest quality tourniquets are the SOFTT Tourniquets. However, they are also bulky. CAT-style tourniquets are the most common, but we suggest one with a metal windlass. RATS tourniquets are the most portable, so great for patrol, but may not work as well on a very wide legs (on overweight people.)
“Enough is enough! Now Americans who choose to be law enforcement officers, who choose to serve their communities and put their lives on the line for fellow citizens, find themselves hunted and targeted just because of the uniform that they wear. This has to stop,” Canterbury said.
The FOP is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the U.S., and is comprised of over 330,000 members.
This wasn’t the first time the FOP has demanded protection for law enforcement officers. The group actually began pushing for hate crime legislation over a decade ago, Canterbury told the New York Daily News in 2015.
“All of these officers died because of the uniforms they were wearing,” he said at the time. “They were killed because their murderers had one purpose – to kill a cop. Our nation’s law enforcement officers deserve better.”
A handful of states have enacted similar legislation, referred to as “Blue Lives Matter” laws, Newsweek reported.
In 2016, Louisiana became the first state to add law enforcement officers to its hate crime statute, which resulted in enhanced penalties for offenders who attack officers or first responders based on their professions.
Kentucky and Mississippi enacted similar laws in 2017, while Arizona and Kansas increased the potential punishment for attacks on first responders, but didn’t include such incidents under their legal definitions of hate crimes.
Blue Lives Matter bills failed in Virginia and Indiana.