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Protect and Serve Act

Floor Speech

Date: Oct. 21, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on behalf of the brave and hard-working men and women of law enforcement across this Nation.

Last month, I talked about the dangerous consequences of inaction by the Senate if we didn't come to protect them. Unfortunately, since my last speech, four more law enforcement officers, men and women, have died--been murdered--in the line of duty. That is a 20-percent increase over the number last year.

That doesn't count the hundreds of police officers who have been injured in the line of duty, many of them still recovering from their wounds. The groundswell of violence against law enforcement is shocking, and it is our responsibility as Senators to act.

Enough is enough. Rather than support radical ideas like defunding and abolishing the police, the Senate should take the lead and pass meaningful legislation to protect law enforcement officers, increasing funding, improving training, and raising standards. That is why I again call on my colleagues to support and pass the Protect and Serve Act, a bill that I sponsored and a bill that I hope we can get passed.

The Protect and Serve Act would punish dangerous criminals who murder a law enforcement officer in the line of duty. If they murder a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, they will be sentenced to life. If they injure a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, they will be sentenced to 10 years in prison. The premise of the legislation is simple: There is no escape from justice for dangerous criminals who intentionally assault or kill a law enforcement officer.

The Senate passes legislation almost every day in this Chamber by unanimous consent, but I am sad to report that if I try to get unanimous consent for this bill, we would have objection on the floor.

The heated rhetoric and the violent attacks on officers are having real-world impacts, and the safety of law enforcement has never been at the low that it is today. Across the country, recruitments are down. Fewer people are applying to go into service or into law enforcement academies, and retirements are up. We are seeing our law enforcement ranks dwindle. It is sad, but it is not surprising.

Law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every single day. Every morning, they wake up, they kiss their spouse goodbye, and they don't know if they are going to come back safely. But when they spend all day being disrespected while doing this very difficult and very dangerous job and politicians harass them or allow them to be harassed, I should say, by violent mobs and protesters, there is no wonder morale is at an alltime low.

Fewer police means more criminal activity. It means hard-working American citizens who go to work every day just to make their lives better are living in communities that are less safe. We cannot sit idly by and allow the streets to be filled with dangerous, violent criminals who face no consequences. Instead, we must speak up and show our men and women in blue that we respect them and we back them.

They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them. In fact, in the last Congress, Speaker Pelosi allowed this bill to be voted on. She supported making it a law. But now her conference is run by radical leftists who want to abolish the police or defund the police, and she is not even allowing this bill to be brought to the floor. She won't speak in support of law enforcement officers despite the rising tide of violence against them. That is why the responsibility lies here in the Senate for us to show our support and let law enforcement communities across the country know that we have their back.

Let's protect police and deputies, and let's pass the Protect and Serve Act. I urge the American people to call your Senators and tell them that you want this bill passed. You want law enforcement to be safer, and you want our communities to be safer. Don't be silent. Help me fight for the men and women in blue. They are counting on all of us.

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