ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — State lawmakers are proposing a law that would increase penalties for those who commit crimes against any emergency service worker.
Police officers, EMTs, and firefighters: It’s their job to protect us. Now New York State is trying to do more to protect them.
“Men and women who voluntarily put the uniform on everyday are being targeted specifically because of that uniform that they wear,” said Rep. Senator Fred Akshar.
That’s the exact reason behind the Community Heroes Protection Act. It’s one which would designate any crime that targets anyone who has a job to protect the community as a punishable hate crime.
“It’s absolutely unacceptable to any emergency service,” said Executive Director of New York Association of Fire Chiefs Jerry Deluca. “We choose to voluntarily go out risk our lives to serve the community, we don’t choose to be assaulted.”
In just one year, researchers found a 68 percent increase in firearm-related fatalities among law enforcement. Firefighters are being attacked on a more frequent basis and four in five medical technicians have experienced some sort of injury related to the job.
“It’s incumbent upon law makers, to try to enact a law to change that,” said Senator Akshar.
The bill is currently bipartisan and if passed, it would be one of the first of its kind in the nation.
“It’s an absolute benefit for us, we think that it can help prevent assaults and eventually even murder,” Deluca said.