On National Police Week, Sullivan Reintroduces Legislation to Protect Officers

WASHINGTON—In honor of National Police Week, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) on Wednesday reintroduced the Protect Our Heroes Act. The legislation would make it a federal crime to assault or kill a public safety officer and add an enhanced penalty in the event an officer is lured to a location for an ambush attack. Sen. Sullivan also cosponsored the National Police Week resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously last night.

Sen. Sullivan also voted for House Joint Resolution (H.J.Res.) 42, repealing the D.C. Council’s anti-police law as the nation’s capital faces record crime and record numbers of police officers leaving the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

“In 2022, 331 officers were shot in the line of duty, and 62 of them were killed. That’s 32 percent higher than 2020,” Senator Sullivan said. “The men and women of law enforcement find themselves in precarious—often dangerous—situations when enforcing our laws, holding criminals accountable, resolving disputes, and protecting the safety of our families. In addition to these risks, our brave public servants should not also have to fear being assaulted or ambushed in the course of performing their duties. Americans are sickened by the rise in attacks in recent years on policemen, troopers, judges, firefighters, and other first responders. This National Police Week, I’m glad to reintroduce the Protect Our Heroes Act, which would 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 public safety officers.
  • 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 severe sentencing enhancements for luring an officer into an ambush attack.

The Fraternal Order of Police estimates 135 officers have been shot in the line of duty so far this year (up 52 percent since 2020 at this point in the year). 15 officers have been killed by gun fire. In 2023, 43 officers have been shot in 38 ambush attacks (those numbers do not account for officers shot at and not struck).

On September 17, 2020, Sen. Sullivan attempted to pass the Protect Our Heroes Act on the floor of the U.S. Senate, but the measure was blocked by Senate Democrats. 

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