Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Attorney General Moody Endorses Buchanan Bill to Punish Cop Killers

Sep 27, 2021
Press Release
Calls Buchanan a “Warrior” for Law Enforcement
Ambush Style Attacks Against Law Enforcement Up 91 Percent in 12 Months

BRADENTON, Fla. – At a Monday morning press conference at the Bradenton Police Department, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody endorsed Congressman Vern Buchanan’s legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers. They were also joined by Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells and other area law enforcement officials who are backing the legislation.

Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support during the 115th Congress, would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer or other first responders an “aggravating” factor in death penalty determinations.

“Police officers and first responders put their lives on the line every single day to help those in harm’s way,” said Buchanan. “I appreciate Attorney General Moody’s strong endorsement and advocacy for my bill, the Thin Blue Line Act. Together, we are sending a strong message to police and first responders that we have their backs, and those who target our frontline heroes should know that there will be severe consequences.”

Attorney General Moody also sent a letter imploring congressional leaders to pass the Thin Blue Line Act to “deter offenders from committing violent crimes against law enforcement officers, firefighters, prosecutors and first responders, and to provide appropriate punishment for those who take the lives of public servants.”

In endorsing the bill, Moody called Buchanan a “warrior” on behalf of law enforcement officers and commended him for filing the bill. Moody also said, “this legislation will provide local and state law enforcement officers the same protection and support currently provided to federal officers—acting as a deterrent to anyone who would look to harm an officer.”

Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells also praised Buchanan saying, “Congressman Buchanan, can’t thank you enough for making sure people understand that if you kill a police officer, you will be held accountable.”

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.

Ambush-style attacks against law enforcement officers have skyrocketed by 91 percent over the last twelve months according to a recent report by the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP).

There have been 295 line of duty deaths to law enforcement officers so far in 2021 according to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP).

Earlier this month, Buchanan presented 61 awards to law enforcement officers and departments in Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough Counties for exception achievement. The winners of Buchanan’s Congressional District Law Enforcement Awards were selected by an independent panel of current and retired law enforcement.