Police Safety Bills to Watch in 2022

2022 Police Safety Bills - National Police Support Fund

The trend coming from Democrats over the last two years has been a relentless initiative to take authority and capability away from police officers, to subject them to politically motivated investigations, and ultimately, to degrade the trust of police in our community. Whether through the “defund” movement or state level police reform bills, police have been put at risk like never before.

After nearly two years of spiraling crime rates in our major cities, the public is pushing back and politicians are beginning to pivot from the pressure. Below are five bills being proposed at the state and federal level which are designed to protect police and provide them more resources to ensure their safety on the job.

Baltimore, MD – Notify Police of Jail Release

The city of Baltimore is in a unique position in that its jail is run by the Maryland Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, a state-controlled agency, rather than by local authorities. This has also created a unique problem. Local officers are not automatically notified when a subject is released on bond. 

A bill proposed in the Maryland General Assembly is looking to change that. If passed, “the bill would require the Maryland Division of Pretrial Detention and Services, which runs the Baltimore jail, to notify city police whenever someone is released on bail. That would allow officers to better protect crime victims and witnesses,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

While the bill has been needed for years, one of the final pushes came after a Baltimore police officer was gunned down by two suspects, one of which was out on bail awaiting trial for illegal possession of a firearm by a felon.

Illinois – Habitual Violent Offenders

In Illinois, one Republican state representative, Jackie Haas, has introduced a flurry of bills designed to protect police officers on the line of duty. 

The Illinois Valley Times cites the shooting of two officers, Marlene Rittmanic and Tyler Bailey, as Haas’ inspiration for these measures. “Rittmanic was killed and Bailey was critically wounded in the attack. The suspect was discovered to be a habitual offender that had been arrested more than 20 times, picking up more than 40 charges in the past seven years.” 

2022 Police Safety Bills - National Police Support Fund

Below are some of the bills which Haas says “will protect our law enforcement officers and provide them with important tools to support the critical job of protecting our families.”

HB 4809: This bill is an amendment to criminal code laid out in prior state legislation concerning the “obstruction of justice.” If passed, it would determine “a person also obstructs justice when, with intent to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person, he or she knowingly takes a body camera or any part of a body camera from a person known to be a peace officer.”

HB 4808: This bill takes aim at habitual violent offenders, like the one who killed Officer Rittmanic and seriously injured Officer Bailey. It would determine that once a suspect “has been adjudged a habitual misdemeanor offender any of the following charges for domestic battery, battery, violation of an order of protection, or criminal damage to property in which the property belongs to a family or household member as defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 shall be charged as a Class 4 felony.”

Minnesota – Ad Campaign for Police Recruitment

Minnesota was the epicenter of the Leftist anti-law enforcement movement starting in 2020. As George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, the city became the first in the nation to “Defund,” with crime and violence against police spiking following the move.

Now one initiative currently being debated by the state’s legislature would use funds from its budget surplus to bolster recruitment and create a pro-police advertising outreach campaign.

According to MinnPost, SF 2848 would “work with the state’s police licensing and training board on an ad campaign the legislation says will ‘publicly promote the importance of peace officers for the safety of Minnesotans’ and draw more people into the profession.”

This effort could be a key to creating a positive dialogue between residents of the state and law enforcement and help defuse the high-tension environment created in parts of the state since George Floyd.

Utah – Invest to Protect Act

At the national level, Congressman Jim Costa, a Democrat representing California’s 16th Congressional District, has introduced the “Invest to Protect Act.” The aim of this bill is to provide extra funding targeted at local police departments to provide extra staffing, equipment, and training.

Commenting on the introduction of the bill, Congressman Costa said:

If we want to see real reforms that make a difference in our communities, it’s important to realize that one size does not fit all. The overwhelming majority of our police forces across America and in my district have less than 100 personnel with stretched budgets. This legislation will help ensure these agencies have the necessary resources to invest in best practices and hire qualified people.

Training investments include de-escalation, domestic violence response, and officer safety. Resources would include extra funding for body camera investment, and funds to recruit new officers & mental health services for existing ones.

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