SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Law enforcement officers from as far away as Hawaii are in San Antonio to show support for the Back the Blue Act. Paul Kelly with the United Coalition of Public Safety says the proposed legislation would create a new federal crime for those who kill or attempt to kill law enforcement officers.
“What this bill does is help ensure that those who risk their lives to protect others have some protection as well,” said Kelly. “It ensures there are tough penalties for attacking police officers, federal judges, firefighters and law enforcement officials because of the job that they do.”
He says Senate Bill 1480 will allow for federal prosecution of these criminals if the state or local jurisdiction fails to prosecute or if the sentence is not equal with the crime upon conviction.
“Too often, criminals are taking a calculated risk of taking a shot at a police officer, either to get away with a crime, avoid arrest, or simply because they hate cops,” said Kelly.
Opponents of the bill believe it would make officers less accountable in cases involving use of excessive force or violating someone’s rights. They say the bill also would reduce incentives for police agencies to monitor themselves and improve the quality of their policing, but Mike Helle, President of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, disagrees.
“There are rules that are in place to deal with those individual officers, and those rules are very stringent,” said Helle. “You can go to jail for overstepping, especially for violating somebody’s rights.”
Kelly unveiled a new TV and digital ad campaign calling for support of the Back the Blue Act, which has been introduced by Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Cornyn was unable to attend the news conference in San Antonio, but he sent a letter.
“When those in uniform who serve and protect are threatened, we are all threatened,” Cornyn said in the letter. “We must do all we can to protect those who protect us.”
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A national law enforcement group is in San Antonio to unveil a TV and digital ad campaign promoting the Back the Blue Act 2019.
The proposed legislation introduced by Senator John Cornyn in May would add stiff, mandatory penalties and make it a federal crime to kill or attempt to kill a law enforcement officer, a federal judge or federally-funded public safety officer.
“This legislation sends a strong message to the more than 900,000 law enforcement officers serving in our country that we support them and we will not tolerate any act of violence against them,” said Cornyn.
The United Coalition of Public Safety says attacks on police officers are becoming more frequent, rising from 9,924 in 2015 to 11,148 in 2018. Under the Back the Blue Act, assaulting a law enforcement officer would also be a federal crime.
Mike Helle, President of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, and UCOPS President Paul Kelly this morning will unveil a new national television ad campaign in support of the legislation.