Two bills working their way through Oklahoma’s state legislature would take big steps toward protecting police and their families from harassment and restoring respect for police in their local communities.
If enacted, Oklahoma Senate Bill 6 and House Bill 2273 would make it illegal to post personal and threatening information about a police officer online. Information protected by the bills includes an officer’s name, law enforcement agency, as well as photos and videos of the officer.
As media coverage of police-involved incidents continues to rise, these protections are essential for protecting officers and their families from unnecessary harassment while investigations and other proceedings are conducted.
Oklahoma’s legislature recognized that the situation is getting worse and is taking steps to address it with this legislation.
“It’s only getting worse, so we need to take some measures to protect the peace, officers and their families,” Rep. Stan May (R) of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, told KJRH News in Tulsa.
Both bills passed the legislature and are on track to end up on Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk for final approval. Law enforcement officials throughout the state applauded the legislature for taking the steps necessary to protect the important work that police do to keep communities safe.
“This is a dangerous enough job as it is,” Wagoner County Sheriff Chris Elliott told KJRH News. “When we get done with our shift and go home and walk back to our homes, we should be afforded an expectation of privacy.”
Mark Nelson, the President of Oklahoma’s Fraternal Order of Police, also expressed his support for the bill and reiterated the need to protect police officers and their families from public harassment as a result of unfounded allegations of misconduct..
“We are talking about people’s livelihoods and people’s families,” Nelson told KFOR News. “It’s off limits. People need to be held accountable who think this behavior is appropriate.”
If signed, the new rules will go into effect on November 1, 2021.
Image Credit: Photo Max Bender by on Unsplash
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