Texas Gov. Abbott to Extend Hate Crime Protection to Law Enforcement Officers
In response to the recent Dallas shootings and targeting of police officers in Baton Rouge, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has proposed the Police Protection Act.
According to Fox 4 News, Abbott's proposed act would extend hate crime protection to law enforcement officers, increase the penalty of crimes committed against law enforcement officers even if it doesn't qualify as a hate crime, and educate the youth of Texas about the importance of law enforcement. Assault against a law enforcement officer is currently a 3rd degree felony, but under the Police Protection Act it would be raised to a 2nd degree felony. Gov. Abbott said,
At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities.
While our state and the nation continue to mourn the heroes lost in Dallas, it is time for us to unite as Texans to say no more. The men and women in uniform risk their lives every day to protect the public, and it is time we show them the State of Texas has their back. Texas will no longer tolerate disrespect for those who serve, and it must be made to clear to anyone targeting our law enforcement officials that their actions will be met with severe justice.
Abbott hopes the Texas legislature will pass the Police Protection Act during its 2017 session. Abbott's proposal has been met with support from various law enforcement agencies in Texas.
Ray Hunt, President, Houston Police Officers Association,
As a 26-plus year police officer in Houston, I’m extremely encouraged by Governor Greg Abbott’s legislative priority to make the State of Texas a national leader in protecting the lives of law enforcement officers. The attacks on law enforcement in Texas and the rest of our nation are unprecedented. Governor Abbott’s solution is the right approach for Texas law enforcement officers and the people of Texas who support them.
Kevin Lawrence, Executive Director, Texas Municipal Police Association,
We applaud Governor Abbott for recognizing the importance of protecting law enforcement officers in the state of Texas. False narratives and irresponsible anti-police rhetoric have put our officers in greater danger than ever before. This is an important step toward protecting those who protect the citizens of this great state.
Ron Pinkston, President, Dallas Police Association,
The Dallas Police Association applauds Governor Abbott’s bold plan in response to the recent wave of attacks on police officers. Now is the time for our elected leaders across our state and country to do the right thing and join our Governor in his call to better protect police officers.
Grimes County Sheriff Donald Sowell, President, The Sheriff's Association of Texas,
The Sheriff's Association of Texas is very pleased to hear our Governor is behind an effort to protect peace officers across our state. Every Texas Sheriff feels this should be a precedent for the leadership in other states to follow, and we support our Governor. We look forward to working with the Governor during the 2017 legislative session to pass these important protections.