Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded this week’s House passage of four bipartisan Judiciary Committee bills designed to honor the sacrifices made by law enforcement officers and ensure they have the tools needed to do their job and keep the public safe.

“Every day, police officers across the United States confront danger to keep us safe. From rural farmlands to bustling cities, law enforcement officers protect their fellow citizens from harm, keep the peace, and carry out justice. Last year alone, 135 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, including four from the Commonwealth of Virginia. We must remember the sacrifices made by our nation’s law enforcement officers and honor them by providing tools needed to do their jobs more effectively and safely.

“This week the House of Representatives has acted once again to stand shoulder to shoulder with police officers. We’ve passed four bipartisan bills to help protect their lives, improve police and community relations, and provide resources needed to prosecute sexual assault crimes. I thank the many members that have worked on these bills and urge the Senate to pass them expeditiously.”

This week, the House of Representatives approved the Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act (H.R. 613), sponsored by David McKinley (R-W.Va.), by a vote of 378-0. This bill allows correctional officers to store firearms in lockers on prison grounds in order to protect themselves to and from work.

The House also passed the Justice Served Act (H.R. 4854), sponsored by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), by a vote of 377-1. This legislation provides funding for grants to ensure that state and local law enforcement has the capacity to prosecute sexual assault crimes. Specifically, it directs 5-7% of the money allocated by current law to process DNA test kits to grants to prosecute these crimes.

Additionally, the House passed H.Res. 285, sponsored by Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), by a vote of 377-2. This bipartisan resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that Congress and the President should create police and community alliances to enhance and improve communication and collaboration between the law enforcement community and the public.

And lastly, the House passed the Protect and Serve Act (H.R. 5698), sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.), by a vote of 382-35. This bill provides a significant deterrent for those seeking to attack police officers. To combat attacks against police officers, which have risen dramatically in recent years, the bill allows for the federal prosecution of those who knowingly assault a law enforcement officer causing serious bodily injury or attempt to do so. In order to qualify for federal prosecution, the victim must either be a federal law enforcement officer, or, if a state or local officer, there must be a nexus to interstate commerce.

Additional Background: During Police Week last year, the House passed the Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115) and the Probation Officers Protection Act (H.R. 1039), but the Senate has failed to move these bills.

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