Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported violent crime was up 5.6 percent in the U.S. in 2020 from 2019. In Idaho in 2020, the FBI found there were 3,610 violent-crime incidents reported by 107 law enforcement agencies. There are many complex reasons for this unfortunate increase. But, one thing is certain—the need for well-funded and supported law enforcement personnel. Idaho’s law enforcement are indispensable in keeping our communities safe, which is a dangerous and difficult responsibility, while facing significant challenges. The men and women of Idaho’s law enforcement and law enforcement families hold a very special place in our society.
I have been proud to support legislation recognizing the vigilance and compassion of those who serve in law enforcement and expressing strong support for law enforcement officers across Idaho and the U.S. in their efforts to secure our communities. This includes my co-sponsorship of S. 1599, the Back the Blue Act. This legislation, which fellow U.S. Senator for Idaho Jim Risch also co-sponsored, would create a new federal crime for killing, attempting to kill or conspiring to kill a federal judge or law enforcement officer.
It would also create harsher penalties for such a crime as well as aggravating factors such as using a weapon or attempting to flee. Additionally, the bill authorizes resources to improve relationships between police departments and the communities they serve. S. 1599 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for further consideration.
The vast majority of law enforcement officers are hard-working Americans who put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe. From the influx of counterfeit pills and the deadly impact of these and other drugs; to cartel drug trafficking organizations; domestic violence impacting far too many families; and so much more; Idaho law enforcement officers face down difficult threats to keep the peace. Their jobs are far from easy, and they deserve our ongoing support.
Thank you to Idaho’s law enforcement community for their selfless acts of bravery. I will continue to support appropriate measures that will protect the safety and well-being of our nation’s public safety employees.
(Senator Crapo with Officers from the Jerome Police Department)
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