Wisconsin Lawmaker Says Officers Should Have Special Protections In Wake Of Dallas Shooting
by Patty Murray
Rep. David Steffen, R-Green Bay, will introduce a bill next session to include law enforcement officers under the state’s hate crime protections.
The “Blue Lives Matter” bill is based on legislation passed earlier this year in Louisiana and was in progress before last week’s targeted attack on police officers in Dallas, Steffen said.
The hate crime legislation is his top priority when the Legislature reconvenes in January, Steffen said. If the bill is passed, violation could result in up to five years of additional imprisonment and $5,000 in additional fines.
“So every single crime that is done against a law enforcement agent that is because they are law enforcement are eligible for this hate crime classification, as a hate crime legislation and therefore penalties,” he said.
Brown County Sheriff John Gossage said he can’t cite a specific incident that would have warranted the enhanced penalties. But officers face danger every day, he said.
“We’re living in a more volatile society, there’s no doubt about that,” Gossage said. “And every time our men and women go out on calls we’re thankful they come out uninjured. We have a number of officer injuries that don’t include assaultive behavior just because of the nature of the job.”
If passed, the hate crime enhancement won’t be automatic, Steffen said. Instead, it will be used at the discretion of district attorneys and judges.
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