This bill — the Protect and Serve Act of 2018 — would make attacking a law enforcement officer a federal crime when the defendant, victim, or weapon used were involved in any interstate or international travel or commerce during the course of or prior to the attack. Causing or attempting to cause serious bodily harm to an officer under such circumstances would carry a prison term of up to 10 years plus a fine, while killing or kidnapping an officer would carry any term of years or life imprisonment.
What is House Bill H.R. 5698?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 5698
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) introduced this bill to create federal penalties for attacking law enforcement officers:
“As a career law enforcement officer and sheriff of Jacksonville for 12 years, I know what officers go through every day when they put on their uniform, say goodbye to their families, and go out on the streets doing the important work of protecting our communities. With an uptick in ambush attacks on law enforcement, like we saw last month in Trenton, Florida, we must ensure that there are steep consequences for anyone who targets our law enforcement officers. The Protect and Serve Act will serve as a significant deterrent for anyone who deliberately targets officers with violence.”
Original cosponsor Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) added:
“After 27 years in law enforcement, I believe that officers must hold themselves to the highest standards, be accountable to their communities, and perform their duties with honor and integrity. There has been a 75 percent increase in officers shot and killed this year. Ambush-style killings have taken numerous officers’ lives. Last month, two sheriff’s deputies here in Florida were assassinated while eating lunch. We must give our officers the tools, training, and protections needed to be safe on the job.”
Some House Democrats expressed frustration with this bill in its committee report:
“H.R. 5698 will be considered on the House Floor during the annual Police Week activities in Washington, DC. Rather than advancing legislation that amounts to an empty gesture, the House should focus on real reform measures that will protect law enforcement, first responders, and the communities they serve. Over the years, well-documented, unconstitutional policing practices in communities of color across the United States have eroded trust between these communities and the law enforcement sworn to protect them. Almost 1,000 people were killed by police in 2017 according to the The Washington Post. Another media outlet estimates there were more than 1,100 police-related fatalities last year, with people of color representing more than 50 percent of those unarmed during fatal encounters with police.”
This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee on a voice vote and has the support of five cosponsors, including four Republicans and one Democrat. The National Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement labor union in the U.S. with over 335,000 members, expressed its support for the bill.
- Sponsoring Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) Press Release
- CBO Cost Estimate
- National Fraternal Order of Police (In Favor)
- Washington Post (Op-Ed Opposed)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: LPETTET / iStock)
Protect and Serve Act of 2018
To amend title 18, United States Code, to punish criminal offenses targeting law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on the Judiciary
- senate Committees
- The house Passed May 16th, 2018Roll Call Vote 382 Yea / 35 Nay
Committee on the JudiciaryIntroducedMay 8th, 2018
- house Committees