WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) today introduced a bill to protect police officers from attacks targeting law enforcement. The Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act builds on existing reporting requirements for attacks targeting police. The bill increases our understanding of ambush-style attacks against law enforcement to help prevent similar attacks in the future.
“Our highest priority should be protecting the lives of law enforcement officers. They support us, we must support them. This bill helps protect police from attacks. It is what we must do,” said Dr. Cassidy.
“Ambushes targeting law enforcement have climbed to alarming levels in recent years, and while the government collects basic data on attacks against police, we need to know more about the factors contributing to this disturbing pattern. Our bill will help expand our understanding of these attacks to better identify motives, trends and any coordinated efforts to target those who put on the badge to keep our communities safe,” said Senator Grassley.
“We all owe a debt to the brave members of law enforcement who protect our communities. That’s why I’m proud to support the Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act, which will require that the U.S. Attorney General to collect nuanced data on attacks against police officers, explain why they occur, and give us tools to prevent them. By understanding this data, we can foster better relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve, as well as improve officers’ mental health and support their efforts to keep our streets safe,” said Senator Luján.
“Attacks on our law enforcement officers are abhorrent and we must get a clear picture on when they occur. I’m proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation so we can improve reporting and continue supporting the men and women in blue to prevent these disgusting acts,” said Senator Tillis.
“Intentional attacks on law enforcement are horrifying – we must do more to prevent them. These attacks against the brave men and women on the force threaten not only their safety, but also their ability to do their jobs effectively and public safety overall. That is why I am teaming up with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to call for more information on these alarming attacks as we work together to help protect our officers from vicious and unprovoked assaults,” said Senator Hassan.
The Improving Law Enforcement Officer Safety and Wellness Through Data Act increases the categories of information that can be voluntarily reported regarding anti-police attacks, such as intention and coordination of perpetrators. Finally, the bill sheds light on the mental health and stress-related impacts trauma has on law enforcement, the mental health resources available to assist officers, and the extent to which those resources are used.
Police officers killed in attacks targeting police spiked 58.7 percent in 2021 over the previous year. The spike made 2021 the deadliest year for law enforcement killings since 1995, with the exception of officers lost during the attacks on 9/11.
Nearly 44 percent of police officer killings in 2021 were caused by unprovoked attacks or ambushes on officers. The trend in violence targeting law enforcement coincides with a nationwide rise in anti-police rhetoric in recent years. The government collects basic information on these attacks, such as when the attack occurred and what types of weapons were used, but fails to collect data such as intention and coordination of perpetrators.
The bill is endorsed by the National Association of Police Officers and the Fraternal Order of Police.