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Targeted attacks on police officers are up; new federal laws proposed to protect law enforcement

New federal laws to protect police
Posted at 5:49 PM, May 16, 2024

CENTRAL TEXAS (KXXV) — The number of people targeting police officers has risen significantly according to the FBI.

In Washington, D.C., lawmakers are discussing several new laws that would protect officers.

25 News Senior Reporter Lauren Adams did some digging into those new bills.

Tracy O’Connor has been a Robinson police officer for 37 years starting off in patrol and moving to the investigation division.

"I believe it’s the most honorable profession an individual can do," he said.

This is a hard time for officers like LT O’Connor as the number of targeted assaults have risen over the last ten years.

“Early on in my career, people had different views on law enforcement," Adams said.

"It was much more respectful, and that has diminished for whatever reason — society has different outlook on things.”

A new report by the FBI shows 194 officers were killed from 2021-2023 more than any other consecutive three year period in the past 20 years.

79,091 officers were assaulted in 2023 marking the highest officer assault rate in 10 years.

“More and more people are targeting police — it could be federal, state or local and criminals are targeting them," said Congressman Pete Sessions.

Congressman Sessions is supporting multiple bills this week for Law Enforcement Appreciation Week.

One is the Thin Blue Line Bill which makes killing or targeting a law enforcement officer an aggravating factor which could lead to the death penalty.

The Protect and Serve Act makes it a federal offense to knowingly target a law enforcement officer with the intention of doing them harm.

"By targeting a law enforcement officer, you’ll be guilty of a federal crime," Sessions said.

"I’m very supportive of this — we believe there must be significant increases in laws.”

These new bills are appreciated by LT O’Connor which he hopes will deter future targeting to his brothers in arms.

“We’re just people too trying to do the best to protect the communities we’ve sworn to protect," he said.

There’s also another bill which will allow federal law enforcement officers purchase their service weapon once they retire.

That’s something the state of Texas already allows.