Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan, 52 Colleagues Call to Crack Down on Cop Killers During Police Week

May 16, 2022
Press Release
Letter Calls for Passage of Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act
Ambush-Style Attacks Against Law Enforcement Up 125 Percent in 2021

WASHINGTON – During National Police Week, Congressman Vern Buchanan today led 52 of his Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling for the immediate passage of his legislation to toughen penalties against cop killers.

Buchanan’s Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 72), 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.

“Our brave law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day to help those in harm’s way,” said Buchanan. “It’s time for Congress to pass my bill, the Thin Blue Line Act, and send a strong message to police and first responders that we have their backs.”

According to the National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP), 123 officers were shot so far this year, 19 of whom were killed. This represents a 35 percent increase over the first five months of 2021. There have been 25 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers this year, which have resulted in 39 officers shot and six killed. Ambush-style attacks against officers were up over 125 percent in 2021 compared to 2020.

The Thin Blue Line Act would be applicable whether the law enforcement officer or first responder 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.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to police officers and first responders all across the country and they need to know that we have their backs,” said the 52 members in the letter. “And anyone who targets them because of the uniform they wear needs to know that there will be severe consequences.”

The Thin Blue Line Act has been endorsed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, NFOP, the National Association of Police Organizations and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.

Earlier this year, Buchanan hosted a roundtable with key law enforcement officers from across Florida’s 16th District to discuss the disturbing rise in crime nationwide and increased threats to police and other first responders.

At the roundtable, Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan said the Thin Blue Line Act “shows incredible support of local law enforcement locally.”

Last September, 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.