Law Enforcement Plan
There are over 800,000 law enforcement officers across the United States serving and protecting our communities commendably at great personal risk. These public servants intervene daily in dangerous and life-threatening situations to deescalate tensions, provide emergency care, apprehend criminals, defend the most vulnerable, and protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.
Over the past year, law enforcement officers have faced unprecedented challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising violent crime. In 2020, 264 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty. In 2021 alone, 49 law enforcement officers have died, making it the deadliest period for law enforcement in decades. Amidst these unparalleled challenges, politicians in Washington and around the country have perpetuated the idea that law enforcement officers are the enemy. They have even gone so far as to create a dangerous movement to “defund the police” that demonizes police, imperils our public safety, and needlessly divides communities.
My priorities are to support law enforcement and bring our communities back together. We must move beyond the divisive and damaging rhetoric, mend the relationships between police and the communities they serve, and give our police officers the legal protections and tools they need to safely and effectively do their job. To accomplish these objectives, I will work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Below are bills in Congress I support to advance real solutions.
Keeping Illegal Firearms off the Street
- Cosponsored H.R. 1518, 21st Century NICS Act: This legislation improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System in order to search the National Data Exchange database when conducting criminal background checks. This bipartisan change will prevent criminals from buying guns even if they committed crimes in different jurisdictions, keeping our streets, communities, and police safer.
Boosting Community-Based Policing
- Cosponsored H.R. 677, JUSTICE Act: This commonsense legislation works to rebuild trust between police and their local communities through providing additional funds for body cameras and grants to police departments to implement community policing best practices. It also funds programs to encourage more individuals to serve their local communities as police officers.
Backing the Blue
- Cosponsored H.R. 288, Qualified Immunity Act of 2021: This legislation codifies the defense of qualified immunity for law enforcement officers in federal law, giving them explicit protections in federal court. Eliminating qualified immunity throws fairness out the door and would remove good-faith legal protections for police officers.
- Cosponsored H.Res. 283, Establishing a Law Enforcement Bill of Rights: This resolution states that all police officers have the right to defend themselves, to not suffer from verbal use, to due process, and to protections under the Fifth Amendment, among other things. It also reiterates how important policing is to our communities and condemns any calls to disband or abolish the police.
- Cosponsored H.R. 377, the Patrick Underwood Federal Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2021: This legislation supports our police officers by increasing penalties for assault on a federal officer, heightening fines and establishing a mandatory imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon.
- Cosponsored H.R. 1210, the LEOSA Reform Act: This legislation, widely endorsed by police organizations nationally, amends the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) to allow well-qualified off-duty and retired officers to carry their firearms for the protection of themselves, their families, and our communities.
- Cosponsored H.R. 1690, the Defending our Defenders Act: This legislation makes the murder of a state or federal law enforcement officer a federal crime that would be punishable either by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Law enforcement officers are essential to protecting our communities and the most vulnerable populations among us. It is vitally important that we come together as a nation, have the tough conversations, and work with one another to advance real solutions that restore public safety and rebuild trust. Your views are always important to me. Please write to me on my website or call my office at 202-225-3665 with feedback, questions, or concerns.
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