Rutherford, Gottheimer Reintroduce Protect and Serve Act

May 11, 2021
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation to enhance federal penalties for targeting law enforcement officers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives John Rutherford (FL-04) and Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) reintroduced the Protect and Serve Act of 2021, which would create federal penalties for individuals who deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence. 

“Throughout my 40 plus years in law enforcement, including 12 as sheriff, I’ve seen firsthand the dangerous situations our men and women in law enforcement face every day,” said Rep. Rutherford. “In Jacksonville, our memorial wall is filled with the names of many good police officers who laid down their lives in service to our community. With growing anti-police rhetoric and widespread efforts to defund police departments, officers are increasingly at risk to attacks. That's why I introduced the Protect and Serve Act, a bipartisan bill to create federal penalties for ambushing law enforcement."

Background on the Protect and Serve Act:

  • Creates enhanced federal penalties for anyone who targets law enforcement officers and purposefully harms them in the execution of a crime with a federal nexus. This applies to attacks on federal officers, or attacks on state or local officers if the attacker or officer crosses state lines, uses a channel of interstate commerce, uses a firearm or weapon that traveled in interstate commerce, or if the act effects interstate or foreign commerce.
  • Creates a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment for someone who attacks and injures an officer and a penalty of life in prison for someone who kills or kidnaps an officer.
  • Passed the House with broad bipartisan support in 2018 by a vote of 382-35.

The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Sheriffs Association, and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.