The Mississippi state House has voted to triple the penalties for crimes against first responders.
House Bill 645 also known as the “Back the Badge Act of 2017,” passed by a 85-31 vote.
In January, the Senate passed a similar bill dubbed the “Blue, Red and Med Lives Matter Act,” which would make any crime committed against a first responder be considered a hate crime.
Capt. Johnny Poulos is with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and said the passing of these two pieces of legislation prove that lawmakers are becoming more mindful of officers needs.
“It sends a strong message that our state legislatures appreciate and support law enforcement efforts in Mississippi,” said Poulos.
Across the country the Blue Lives Matter campaign has been championing for greater protection of police officers.
Lt. Randy Sutton is a spokesmen for Blue Lives Matter and said laws like these need to be implemented as fewer qualified candidates are looking to become officers.
“We’ve seen a major decline in recruiting over the last eight years,” said Sutton.
He continued, arguing that the Obama administration tried to solve the problem of fewer officers by lowering the requirements potential candidates would need to meet. Sutton said ideas like that are dangerous and can lead to more violence.
“There was a time in the early 1980s when police agencies were being forced to do the same thing and it led to terrible misconduct and corruption,” said Sutton.
Both the House and Senate bills will be exchanged to hash out the details.