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Abbott Announces Police Protection Act


Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday, July 18, an effort to strengthen penalties for crimes committed against law enforcement officers – the Police Protection Act.
“At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities,” said Abbott.
The proposal is punctuated by making it a hate crime for anyone to commit a crime against a law enforcement officer out of bias against the police. The governor will request the Texas legislature to pass the Police Protection Act in the 2017 legislative session.
“While our state and the nation continue to mourn the heroes lost in Dallas, it is time for us to unite as Texans to say no more,” Abbott continued. “The men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to protect the public, and it is time we show them the State of Texas has their backs.
“Texas will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be made to clear to anyone targeting our law enforcement officials that their actions will be met with severe justice.”
Executive Director of the Texas Municipal Police Association Kevin Lawrence applauded Abbott for “recognizing the importance of protecting law enforcement officers in the state of Texas.” Lawrence continued, “False narratives and irresponsible anti-police rhetoric have put our officers in greater danger than ever before. This is an important step toward protecting those who protect the citizens of this great state.”
The Police Protection Act includes the following proposals:
• Extend hate crime protections to law enforcement officers;
• Increase criminal penalties for any crime in which the victim is a law enforcement officer – whether or not the crime qualifies as a hate crime;
• Create a culture of respect for law enforcement by organizing a campaign to educate young Texans on the value law enforcement officers bring to their communities;
For example, under current law, assault with bodily injury is generally punishable as a Class A misdemeanor, while assault on a public servant, including a law enforcement officer, is a 3rd degree felony. Under Abbott’s proposal, in cases where the assault is on a law enforcement officer, the penalty would increase to a 2nd degree felony.
Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association, said, “The Dallas Police Association applauds Governor Abbott’s bold plan in response to the recent wave of attacks on police officers. Now is the time for our elected leaders across our state and country to do the right thing and join our governor in his call to better protect police officers.”
Abbott added, “The recent shooting in Dallas is not the first time law enforcement officers in Texas have been targeted. Our goal is to do everything possible to make it the last.”