Lawmakers introduce Senate bill that would make attacks on police officers a federal crime

Several US senators have introduced legislation that would make it a federal crime to target police officers.

The Protect and Serve Act was introduced Thursday by Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina. 

The bill would make it a federal crime to knowingly cause or attempt to cause serious bodily injury to an officer, with up to 10 years in prison for convictions.

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If the crime includes murder, attempted murder, kidnapping or attempted kidnapping, the offender could receive a life sentence.

Fifteen other Republican senators signed on to support the bill, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott.

“It is disgusting to see our law enforcement officers become targets of violence, harassment and abuse," Scott said in a statement. "Law enforcement officers are not the enemy - these selfless individuals are true heroes who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities."

The move comes after two deputies in Los Angeles were ambushed and shot multiple times in their patrol car outside of a train station.

Related: 2 Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies shot in apparent ambush in patrol car

"In 2020, there have been 37 law enforcement officers killed in the U.S. This is an increase of more than 20 percent since this time last year," Tillis' announcement said. "Of those, eight were ambushed in premeditated attacks, two were victims of an unprovoked attack, and the other 27 officers killed in the line of duty."

The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by multiple law enforcement associations, including the Fraternal Order of Police and Major County Sheriffs of America.

A similar bill was passed in the House of Representatives in 2018, and was sponsored by Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings and Republican Congressman John Rutherford, both from Florida. The bill passed the House by a vote of 382 to 35 with bipartisan support.