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Rep. Paul Cook cosponsors HR 814, bill to punish anyone who murders first responders
U.S. Congressman Paul Cook (R-CA, Apple Valley) is cosponsoring HR 814, The Thin Blue Line Act, which seeks to punish those who murder first responders. The legislation covers every law enforcement officer, whether federal, state or local as well as any firefighter or first responder.
The pending law’s only requirement is that the homicide provides federal jurisdiction as well as any firefighter or first responder. This includes the following:
- The interstate homicide of an officer, firefighter or first responder
- A homicide of an officer, firefighter or first responder who is serving on a joint federal/state/local taskforce (example: Organized Crime Task Forces, Drug Enforcement Task Forces, Human Trafficking Task Forces)
- An officer, deputy, firefighter or first responder killed on federal land
The Thin Blue Line Act would make the murder of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or first responder an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations. This would pertain to any person murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official.
Rep. Cook said, “Every day our first responders are risking their lives to protect our communities. When someone takes the life of a law enforcement officer or a fire fighter, they need to be appropriately punished. This bill will ensure justice is served.”
In January through early May of this year there have already been the same number of officer deaths as in all of 2015.
Rep. Cook signed on as a co-sponsor of HR 814 earlier this month during National Police Week. In 1962 President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week.
Rep. Cook is member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Foreign Affairs Committees. He served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. Rep. Cook serves California’s 8th District which includes the city of Yucaipa.