'Thin Blue Line Act' stiffens consequences for those who attack law enforcement
Law enforcement agencies in the Valley are showing overall support for the Thin Blue Line Act, a new piece of legislation that may help strengthen the consequences against those who attack law enforcement.
"When we come into this profession, we have -- we know something might come up,” said Los Indios Police Chief Juan De La Rosa. “So, we have to be ready and we have to expect anything.”
H.R. 115, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, would make the murder or attempted murder of a police officer, firefighter or other first responder an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations.
According to the National Association of Police Organizations, 50 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty so far this year.
“That’s one officer too many,” said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio. “So definitely to have this kind of a law, hopefully it will minimize or put a complete stop to it.”
Under current federal law, killing a federal law enforcement officer is an aggravating factor when considering a death sentence; however, killing a state or local police officer, a firefighter, or first responder is not.
Lucio believes it could make a difference.
"I believe it probably will,” said Lucio. “Can you stop it completely? No, but I’m sure that they -- you know -- will go ahead and realize that some of that may happen to them. Hopefully it will. Hopefully it will be a lesson that they will read and learn."
Congressman Vicente Gonzalez was one of the 271 representatives who said yes to the bill. Gonzalez said the message now is clear on where America stands with law enforcement.
“Anybody who dares to commit a murder to a law enforcement officer or first responder, it sends a message that they’re going to be held accountable at a very high level,” Gonzalez said.