By Fred Arnold
February 9, 2015, Congressman David Jolly introduced a new piece of legislation that will afford police and other first responders protection within federal lands.
The Thin Blue Line Act, as it has been named, will place the death of a police officer, first responder, or federal agent on federal lands (or assisting in a federal investigation) as an aggravated factor in death penalty sentencing.
“This is a human issue,” Jolly said, taking a moment to collect his thoughts. “If you plan to harm a civil servant, you will be met with swift justice,” he finished with passion.
David Jolly, a supporter of men in uniform both military and civilian, wishes to pass the act as a deterrent to those who would do harm to United State’s civil servants in the case of federal jurisdiction, interstate homicides, or as part of a joint task force.
The act refers only to convicted persons, where a trial and jury have been held and the evidence has been presented.
“Current federal law only cites the homicide of a federal public servant,” Jolly said to Sunshine State News, “this bill would close that loophole and treat all police equally under federal law.”
The Thin Blue Line Act faces a hard road to success. In a Senate and House where only eleven percent of bills made it past federal committee in 2013 (per govtrack.us ), and only 3% of those bills made it to law, Jolly now faces an uphill battle.
NAPO, the National Association of Police Organizations, supports the Congressman in his endeavors due to the increase in police fatalities over the last few years.
“In 2014, 118 officers died in the line of duty,” said Major County Sheriffs Association Donny Youngblood. “This tragic statistic represents approximately one officer death every three days.”
These numbers, and the sweeping angst of civil distrust in men in uniform due to racial tension, has put law enforcement on the side of the Thin Blue Act.
“Law enforcement officers and other first responders have the right to go home to their families at the end of their shifts,” Youngblood said to Sunshine State News.
Jolly now pursues a sponsor within the Senate in hopes to garner a stronger backing to help the legislation succeed.
Header photo is attributed to Preston Rudie and the office of David Jolly.
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