ADVISORY: House to Vote Tomorrow on Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House is scheduled to vote tomorrow on Congressman Vern Buchanan’s legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers.
Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responder an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.
House action on Buchanan’s bill arrives as the nation honors law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty during National Police Week, which began Monday. National Police Week is a tradition dating back to 1962 when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation that recognized all fallen officers and their service to the community.
“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to police officers and first responders across the country,” Buchanan said. “This bill will serve as a strong deterrent to anyone planning an attack against our brave men and women in uniform who protect and serve their communities.”
The number of police officer deaths from shootings increased 56 percent nationally in 2016, according to a report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Additionally, in 2016 alone, ambush-style killings of law enforcement officers increased by 167 percent, according to the National Association of Police Organizations.
The Thin Blue Line Act would be applicable whether the person is murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official. It covers federal, state and local police officers, firefighters and first responders. The only requirement is that the homicide involve federal jurisdiction, such as the interstate homicide of an officer, or an officer killed on federal land, or while serving as part of a joint task force.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., this month introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.