On Thursday, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced legislation that would create a criminal penalty of the death penalty or life imprisonment for the murder of a federal, state, and local enforcement officer. In addition, the Justice for Fallen Law Enforcement Act would create a criminal penalty of 20 years in prison for assault resulting in serious injury to a federal, state, and local law enforcement officer.
This legislation comes as Greensboro Police Sergeant Philip Dale Nix was tragically killed late last year while off-duty after approaching suspects who were stealing from a store. The National Fraternal Order of Police reports as of midnight of December 31, 2023, there were 378 officers shot in the line of duty in 2023. Of those officers shot, 46 of them were killed by gunfire. There were 115 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers last year. These ambush-style attacks resulted in 138 officers shot, 20 of whom were killed by gunfire.
“Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country are heroes who risk their lives every day to protect our communities,” said Senator Tillis. “Those who commit senseless acts of violence against law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions, which is why I am proud to introduce this legislation that creates harsh federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them.”
“Anyone who willfully injures or takes the life of a law enforcement officer should face severe consequences and the highest criminal penalties,” said Senator Blackburn. “Our brave men and women in blue put their own safety at risk in service to our communities, and we must do all that we can to ensure their perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I will always stand with our law enforcement officers.”
“Criminals who target our brave men and women in uniform should face the toughest possible consequences,” said Senator Cornyn. “By enhancing penalties for murdering or assaulting a law enforcement officer, this legislation would help protect those who put their lives on the line every day to keep Texans safe.”
The Justice for Fallen Law Enforcement Act would also require a study after 36 months to report to House and Senate Judiciary Committees about prosecutions as the result of the act.
Read text of the legislation HERE.