Tillis Reaffirms Support for Our Heroes in Law Enforcement During National Police Week | Beaufort County Now | This week, during National Police Week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) reaffirmed his commitment to supporting law enforcement by introducing the Probation Officer Protection Act

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    WASHINGTON, D.C.     This week, during National Police Week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) reaffirmed his commitment to supporting law enforcement by introducing the Probation Officer Protection Act, legislation that gives arrest authority to probation officers for third parties who assault, resist, intimidate, or interfere with the performance of a probation officer's official duties. This authority would be exercised based on rules prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

    "We are seeing the increased demonization of law enforcement, and this movement will have lasting consequences," said Senator Tillis. "Because of this, I am doing everything I can to support and equip our local law enforcement, probation officers, and first responders with the necessary authorization to perform additional, official duties. I will always work hard for our brave men and women in blue and am proud to introduce the Probation Officer Act and co-sponsor these commonsense bills."

    In addition, Senator Tillis co-sponsored nine different bills this week to support and protect law enforcement:

  • Protecting America's First Responders Act: This legislation updates the definition of disability under the Public Safety Officers' Benefits program, which currently prohibits benefits if an injured officer can perform any activity that is or could be compensated. It also expands DOJ subpoena authority to secure records to evaluate disability claims. Because claims often take years before eligibility is approved, when someone is approved, the bill would adjust their benefits to inflation. Protecting America's First Responders Act was passed out of the Judiciary Committee Thursday.
  • Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act: This bill would grant extraterritorial jurisdiction for the assault or murder or attempted assault or murder of a federal officer or employee killed abroad. ICE agent Jaime Zapata was murdered by a Mexican cartel, and agent Victor Avila was nearly killed. Murder charges against two of the cartel members were vacated because the murder occurred outside the US, and this bill was drafted to close that loophole. Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila Federal Officers and Employees Protection Act was passed out of the Judiciary Committee Thursday.
  • COPS Counseling Act: This bill sets standards for peer support counseling programs offered by federal law enforcement agencies. In particular, the bill prohibits disclosure of peer support communications except in narrow situations (threats of suicide, violence, crime) and directs DOJ to develop best practices and professional standards for peer support counseling programs. COPS Counseling Act was passed out of the Judiciary Committee Thursday.
  • Thin Blue Line: Jurors must consider aggravating factors when deciding to impose the death penalty, one of which is whether the victim is federal law enforcement or federal prosecutor. This bill would expand aggravating factor to include state and local officers, prosecutors, and first responders. It also enhances penalties where the criminal targets a law enforcement officer, prosecutor, or first responder because of their profession.
  • Lifesaving Gear for Police Act: This bill would require congressional action to limit or prohibit transfers of federal equipment to state and local law enforcement. It ensures that transfers could not be limited through executive order or regulation like the Obama Administration attempted to do.
  • Law Enforcement Training for Mental Health Crisis Response Act: This legislation authorizes $7,500,000 annually for the next three years to provide grants to state, local, and tribal law enforcement for crisis response training where a law enforcement officer encounters an individual experiencing a mental health episode.
  • Back the Blue Act: The bill would strengthen federal criminal prohibitions for the murder or violent assault of a law enforcement officer, increase the availability of the death penalty in federal cases involving the killing of a law enforcement officer, expedite the death penalty for cop killers by streamlining federal Habeas review under AEDPA, expand the right of law enforcement officers to carry firearms while on-duty and off-duty, and increase resources for programs to improve the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.
  • LEOSA Reform Act: This legislation would allow qualified law enforcement to carry a concealed (1) firearm on state, local, and private property otherwise open to the public; (2) in national parks; and (3) in certain federal public access facilities. It would also allow officers to carry certain magazines, and to carry in Gun Free School Zones. The LEOSA Reform Act would reform qualification standards to alleviate currently existing burdens on law enforcement officers.
  • Protect Our Heroes Act: This legislation establishes a federal crime for killing or assaulting our public safety officers and first responders — including law enforcement, judges, firefighters, and EMS. Criminals could receive up to 10 years in prison for attempting or conspiring to kill a public safety officer, and up to 20 years for an assault. If a criminal kills a public safety officer, they could receive a life sentence or the death penalty. Additionally, it provides for severe sentencing enhancements for perpetrators that lure and ambush these officers for the purpose of killing or assaulting them.

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