Monday, February 27, 2017


A bill has been introduced in the Texas legislature that, if passed, would classify attacks against police officers, firefighters and ambulance attendants as hate crimes

A law enforcement official sent me a Fox 4 News report about the support for a Texas bill - classifying attacks against first responders a hate crime - by the father of one of the Dallas police officers who was slain in last July’s ambush.

HB 429 is well-intentioned and at first light I fully supported it. But after further reflection, I would ask, is this bill too inclusive?

There is no question that an attack against a cop is a hate crime and such attacks should carry a heavier penalty than the penalties for aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer. But should firefighters and ambulance attendants be included in a hate crime bill?

I certainly do not mean to denigrate our heroic firefighters or the critically important ambulance attendants, but unlike the ambushes against cops, the attacks against firefighters and medics are not committed out of hate. They are committed because the assailant wants to prevent them from carrying out their duties.

Instead of classifying attacks against firefighters and medics as a hate crime, a better alternative would have been a separate bill that increases the penalties for any such attacks.


BY Spring Sault

Texas Hill Country
November 28, 2016

With attacks on police on the rise across the country, the most recent of which in San Antonio itself, a bill has been introduced at the Texas House of Representatives which, if passed, would render such attacks a hate crime, thus increasing penalties for their perpetration.

The first of its kind, HB 429 will also recognize emergency responders and firefighters as targets of such crimes and will be introduced as emergency legislation for review and voting in the January assembly. Coming on the heels of the recent murder of San Antonio detective, Benjamin Marconi, who was ambushed in his patrol car outside of the city’s police department, the bill aims to increase the penalty for attacking police and first responders.

With 58 officers listed nationwide for 2016 on the Officer Down Memorial Page, 7 of which from Texas, the bill which was co-written by Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba, the Dallas Police Association, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas and the Texas Municipal Police Association, seeks to strengthen the Police Protection Act (PPA), which Gov. Greg Abbott had prior plans to proceed with.

In a Houston Chronicle interview referencing the PPA, Gov. Abbott stated, “At a time when law enforcement officers increasingly come under assault simply because of the job they hold, Texas must send a resolute message that the State will stand by the men and women who serve and protect our communities.” His resolve reverberates with the development and introduction of Villalba’s bill, which will not only increase the punishment for crimes against police and first responders but will also make assaults on an officer a 2nd-degree felony as opposed to a 3rd.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BGB, I see your point. I think this bill will protect those who serve us under extreme conditions. I support it.