Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, applauded the news that members of the House and Senate introduced the “Protect and Serve Act,” a bipartisan bill that would impose Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence.

“Already this year we have 87 officers shot in the line of duty and 28 of them were killed. This is 75% higher than this time last year,” said Canterbury. “Our nation’s law enforcement officers face dangers every day in the course of protecting their communities, but now they face a new threat – deliberate attacks, often by ambush, by people who desire nothing more than to wound or kill an officer. Finally, Congress has decided to act.”

Recent studies at the Federal level have shown that ambush attacks on law enforcement officers are growing at an alarming rate and that many of these assailants are driven by a deep animus toward police. Just a short time ago, two deputies in Florida were ambushed and killed as they sat in a restaurant, and the violent transnational criminal organization MS-13 called for the assassinations of police officers in New York so the gang could “take back the streets.”

“The FOP is deeply grateful to Senator Hatch, who has long been a friend to law enforcement and whose leadership will be greatly missed after his retirement,” Canterbury said. “Senator Heitkamp has proven to be a real partner to law enforcement and we appreciate her leadership on this issue.”

“In the House, Representatives John Rutherford and Val Demings, a former sheriff and a former chief of police, have come together to introduce the House version of’ Protect and Serve,”‘ Canterbury said. “Both of them know what it means to walk a beat, to make a traffic stop and to look over your shoulder even while you’re on a break for the next threat to public safety. We are very grateful for their leadership and support and we look forward to working with them when the bill comes before the Judiciary Committee later this week.”

The FOP confirmed that any vote on this legislation will be scored by the National Fraternal Order of Police.

The National Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the country with over 335,000 members.