Press Release

Tillis Leads Introduction of Bipartisan Protect and Serve Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) led the introduction of the Protect and Serve Act, bipartisan legislation that would make knowingly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to a law enforcement officer a federal crime. Joining Senator Tillis were Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Hoeven (R-ND), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).  

On Monday, four law enforcement officers were tragically killed in Charlotte, North Carolina, while executing an arrest warrant on a known fugitive. Senator Tillis recently delivered a speech on the Senate floor honoring their lives. 

“Law enforcement officers in North Carolina and across the country are heroes who risk their lives every day to protect our communities,” said Senator Tillis. “Those who commit senseless acts of violence against law enforcement officers must be held accountable for their actions, which is why I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that creates federal penalties for criminals who target law enforcement. They put their lives on the line to protect us, and we should do the work in Congress to protect them.” 

“Law enforcement officers face enough job hazards already, so attacking these men and women simply for doing their jobs is inexcusable,” said Senator Cotton. “Our bill will help protect police by increasing penalties for the criminals who target them.”

“I’m very pleased to support Senator Tillis’ legislation to protect our men and women in blue,” said Senator Graham. “We should do everything we can to support law enforcement officers on the job. This bill would make it a federal crime to attack a police officer in the line of duty, in order to deter these types of attacks from occurring. Now is the time for America to be clear that we support law enforcement – not just by words, but by action.” 

“Our brave law enforcement officers in West Virginia and across the country risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe, and we have a responsibility in Congress to do everything we can to protect them on the job,” said Senator Manchin. “I’m proud to introduce the bipartisan Protect and Serve Act to ensure individuals who commit or attempt to commit violence against these heroes are held accountable through harsher federal penalties. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation and I will do everything I can to see it across the finish line and signed into law.”

“In Maine, we are fortunate to have so many terrific and professional law enforcement officers, devoted to their duty and to doing what is right,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation would help increase protections for those who serve in state, local, and federal law enforcement by holding anyone who knowingly targets or attacks these dedicated officers fully accountable for their criminal actions.”

“Each and every day, our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line as they work to protect our communities and keep us safe,” said Senator Hoeven. “This legislation will ensure that those who target these public servants with violence face the appropriate federal penalties, and will hopefully serve as a deterrent to help keep our officers safe.”

“It is critical we Back the Blue in every way possible,” said Senator Cramer. “The Protect and Serve Act will implement safeguards to defend those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our communities. We owe these heroes a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices and service, and Congress must honor that commitment.” 

“I have always and will always back the blue,” said Senator Daines. “Targeted violence against law enforcement in Montana and across America warrants federal prosecution. A crime against men and women in law enforcement is a crime against protection, against safety and against the rule of law.”

“Every single day, our law enforcement officers in West Virginia and across the nation risk their own lives to protect and serve our communities,” said Senator Capito. “It is critical that we do all that we can to protect them in return. That is why I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Protect and Serve Act, which makes intentionally harming our men and women in blue a federal crime.”

“Violent criminals who seek to assault or attack law enforcement officers in the line of duty need to know they will face swift consequences for causing harm,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help protect police officers by making it a federal crime to target them, and I appreciate Senator Tillis’ leadership on this issue.”    

“Our law enforcement officers risk their lives every single day to protect our communities. It is utterly reprehensible for anyone to attack our men and women in blue for enforcing law, order, and public safety,” said Senator Cruz. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this commonsense legislation to hold accountable violent criminals who attempt to harm our local, state, and federal law enforcement officers. These public servants deserve to be protected in the line of duty.” 


The National Fraternal Order of Police reports as of December 31, 2023, there were 378 officers shot in the line of duty in 2023. Of those officers shot, 46 of them were killed by gunfire. There were 115 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers last year. These ambush-style attacks resulted in 138 officers shot, 20 of whom were killed by gunfire.

The Protect and Serve Act would address this problem by giving federal prosecutors the tools they need to hold accountable those who target law enforcement for assault and attacks. The Protect and Serve Act would support law enforcement officers by:  

  • Making it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Offenders are subject to imprisonment for up to 10 years.
  • An offender could receive a life sentence if a death results from the offense, or the offense includes kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, or attempted murder. 

The Protect and Serve Act has been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, Sergeant Benevolent Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, and the National Association of Police Organization.

“This legislation is a priority for the FOP and was drafted as a direct response to the increased number of targeted attacks on law enforcement officers by imposing, in very limited circumstances, Federal penalties on individuals who deliberately and violently attack local, State or Federal law enforcement officers,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “As of 30 April 2024, 136 officers were shot in the line of duty, 20 of whom were killed. There have been 26 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement in which 34 officers were shot, six of whom were killed. We are grateful to Senator Tillis for leading the charge on this issue. We look forward to working with them to get this measure to the floor.

“The tragedy in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 29 once again highlights the dangerous profession law enforcement officers have and the risks they face when serving and protecting their communities,” said Bill Johnson, Executive Director of the National Association of Police Organizations. “The shooting of those eight officers is just adding to the ever-increasing number of officers being shot in the line of duty. NAPO is calling on Congress to take up and pass the Protect and Serve Actto demonstrate that the killing or the attempted killing of our nation’s law enforcement officers is unacceptable and those who commit these heinous crimes must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We thank Senator Tillis for his commitment to and support for the law enforcement community.” 

“In the face of a continued rise in attacks on our nation’s federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, the SBA is proud to once again support the Protect and Serve Act and urge Congress to expedite passage of this important legislation,” said President Vincent Vallelong of the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the New York City Police Department.  “As we saw in the murder of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller in March and this week in Charlotte with the senseless and brutal attack on members of a U.S. Marshals’ fugitive task force, law enforcement officers must maintain constant vigilance to the threats posed by those who seek to do them harm for nothing more than the badge and uniform they wear. That is why we are grateful for Sen. Tillis’ strong and consistent leadership in advancing this critical officer safety measure that will combat targeted violence against our members and officers across this country who protect and serve their communities.” 

“The Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA) is proud to support the Protect and Serve Act,” said Megan Noland, Executive Director of the Major County Sheriffs of America. “This legislation will ensure individuals who attack officers are held accountable and assist our efforts to deter further violence against law enforcement. We thank the sponsors for their leadership and stand ready to support all efforts to quickly advance this important legislation.”

This law would apply to federal law enforcement officers and would also apply to state and local officers in circumstances where the federal government can establish jurisdiction over the case. Senator Tillis first introduced the Protect and Serve Act in 2020. 

Full text of the bill is available HERE


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