Sen. Heitkamp cosponsors bill that makes attacks on law enforcement a federal crime

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is cosponsoring a bi-partisan backed bill that makes targeting law enforcement officers a federal crime.

The Protect and Serve Act says a crime is committed when a person harms or tries to harm an officer because they're law enforcement. Anyone convicted would be sentenced to 10 years in prison, or life if the attack killed an officer.

Heitkamp said in a statement:

“They work every day to keep our communities and families safe – an important and difficult job. We should honor their service by doing everything we can to protect them, and we must address targeted violence toward peace officers across the country. Our bipartisan bill would make clear that attacks against law enforcement officers based on their role to protect and serve the community will be met with harsh penalties, and that these crimes will be elevated and prioritized. Our peace officers walk out the door every day not knowing what awaits them during the next shift – we must make sure that all of our officers know that we have their back when they report for duty to keep our communities strong and safe.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R- N.D., released a statement saying:

“We support efforts to impose tougher sentences on anyone that targets police officers, while also respecting the ability of state and local jurisdictions to have prosecutorial discretion. Our nation’s law enforcement officers do tremendous work in the face of many hardships and serve our communities in a wide variety of capacities, from preventing crime and pursuing offenders to protecting our schools and serving as first responders.”

Congressman Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., also released a statement saying:

“During National Police Week, it is important for Congress to show that we have the backs of our brave men and women in law enforcement. One officer lost is too many. In order to combat rising attacks against law enforcement, the Protect and Serve Act ensures individuals who intentionally target and cause bodily injury to officers will face an adequate punishment for their actions. I look forward to supporting this legislation when the House votes on it later this week.”