Every hour of every day, brave men and women in law enforcement put their lives on the line to protect us with little regard for their own safety. When these officers leave their homes to start their shifts, their loved ones say goodbye knowing they are heading into a dangerous world and there is never a guarantee they are coming home. For our men, women and families in blue, the deaths of three Baton Rouge police officers this weekend, the tragedy in Dallas and the officer killed in Kansas City are just the latest deadly reminders of the dangers these officers face on a daily basis and the sacrifices each one of them make to keep us safe.
In the aftermath of the Dallas police shooting, at a time so many were questioning our law enforcement officers and their actions, Dallas Police Chief David Brown asked all of us to think about the role we ask our police officers to carry out. The roles these men and women play in our communities are many and the demands on both their professional and family lives are great. We ask them to monitor traffic, keep schools safe, respond to domestic disputes, combat the heroin epidemic, protect our neighborhoods where gangs are committing violent crimes, provide life-saving treatment to those who are in need and perform a multitude of duties too long to list. With new technologies, an ever-changing world and the threat of terrorist and vigilante attacks, the list of responsibilities and dangers our law enforcement officers encounter everyday is growing rapidly.
Having worked as a Deputy Attorney General and a State Senator, I have been fortunate enough to know and develop close relationships with many individuals in law enforcement. In the State Senate, I am honored to be one of the strongest proponents and advocates for the law enforcement community because of my great respect for the work they do and for the rule of law. I fight for them because they fight for us.
It would be difficult to find an elected official who stands more firmly behind our law enforcement. With that being said, I understand the necessity of talking about how the police interact with the public. This is an important conversation but one that must take place at the local level. The “talking heads” and national media are sensationalizing these stories, the police are being demonized by a distorted narrative and this is placing our officers and communities in danger.
Violence against law enforcement officers is deplorable and has no place in a civilized society. For these reasons, I intend to introduce hate crime legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate for crimes committed against our law enforcement officers that are motivated by a hatred of the police. If you knowingly target a police officer in Pennsylvania, you leave us no other choice but to remove you from civilized society.
It is time for the violence against law enforcement officers to end and for Pennsylvanians and all Americans to stand united behind our law enforcement officers.