Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that the House Committee on the Judiciary favorably reported H.R. 5698, the “Protect and Serve Act” on a unanimous voice vote. This legislation provides Federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target local, State, and Federal law enforcement officers with violence.

“Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Enough is enough! It is time to do more to protect law enforcement officers from deliberately targeted attacks,” declared Canterbury. “Law enforcement officers, who serve their communities and put their lives on the line for fellow citizens, should not be hunted and targeted just because of the uniform that they wear. We are grateful for Chairman Goodlatte’s unwavering support and commitment to the safety of our nation’s law enforcement officers. I applaud the Committee for swiftly moving the ‘Protect and Serve Act’.”

Representative John Rutherford (R-FL) and Representative Val Demings (D-FL), a former sheriff and a former chief of police, have come together to champion this important law enforcement issue. Both know what it means to walk a beat and face the dangers of the job day in and day out. The bill is now pending on the House floor and could be considered as soon as next week during National Police Week.

“Law enforcement is a higher calling for those who take the oath to protect and serve. It is these men and women who run toward danger to protect the public when everyone else is running away,” stated Canterbury. “The members of the law enforcement family are the very best of not just our communities, but our country. This family of officers has suffered too many tragedies in the last few years by those who choose to demonize our profession and incite violence against our officers.”

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

National President Canterbury also sent a letter to the House leadership encouraging the passage of this important bill.

Text of Letter
Dear Mr. Speaker and Representatives McCarthy, Pelosi and Hoyer,

I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our strong support for HR 5698, the “Protect and Serve Act,” which was favorably reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary earlier today and to urge that it be considered next week during National Police Week.

The legislation, introduced by Representative John H. Rutherford (R-FL), a former sheriff, and ValV. Demings (D-FL), a former police chief, would impose Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately target local, State or Federal law enforcement officers with violence. This year 87 officers have been shot in the line of duty and 28 of them were killed. Far too many of these murdered officers were slain in ambush as was the case with Sergeant Noel Ramirez and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Department in Florida. These two officers were having lunch together when they were assassinated by a man who fired through the restaurant’s window to kill them before turning the weapon on himself. Similarly, 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”-a move clearly intended to intimidate the men and women in uniform.

Ambush attacks like this are increasing at an alarming rate. A report issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the motivations of cop-killers revealed that many of these attacks are motivated by a hatred or animus toward law enforcement officers. This same report stated that these killers felt that the communities and elected officials no longer supported their officers and they would not face serious penalties for their actions. We must change this perspective and we believe the “Protect and Serve Act” will do just that.

We appreciate, as always, your leadership and your support for law enforcement officers and the families of those who fell in the line of duty. As our nation comes together to honor these heroes during National Police Week, I hope the House will consider taking this legislation up on the floor and passing it.

On behalf of the more than 335,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, thank you for considering our view on this important legislation. If I can provide any additional support for this bill or on any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Senior Advisor, Jim Pasco, in my Washington, D.C. office.

Chuck Canterbury

National President