Legislation Promises Stiffer Punishment For Targeting Police Officers | Texas Public Radio

Legislation Promises Stiffer Punishment For Targeting Police Officers

Nov 22, 2016

New legislation filed at the state capitol aims to provide stiffer punishment for those caught targeting police and first responders.  

Following the shooting of San Antonio Police Det. Benjamin Marconi, the city’s police Chief William McManus said that it was obvious, the uniform, not the officer was the target.

It’s that idea that has spurred the creation of new legislation ahead of the January session that would enhance crimes against a police officer.

Charlie Wilkinson is the executive director for the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas also known as CLEAT.  Wilkinson says CLEAT is in support of the bill because it creates a new class of hate crimes when police officers and first responders are the intended target.

“This was Detective Marconi doing his job and filling in in a place where he was needed and he was targeted simply because he was a police officer," Wilkinson says.

The bill’s author, Dallas Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba says it wouldn’t only apply when an officer is targeted and shot.

“Let’s say you are driving a car and you see a cop and you take your truck and you plow into their car, and the police officer isn’t harmed. Obviously that isn’t a case that is going to be a capital crime that results in the death penalty. It’s going to be a crime that results in a second degree felony. If we have a second degree felony under our statute it moves up to the next highest class," Villalba explains.

The bill will be introduced in the legislative session that begins in January.