D.C. – Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a legislative agenda on Wednesday to increase efforts towards supporting and protecting law enforcement.
The agenda aims to “hire 100,000 police officers, boost police morale, and keep American families safe,” as posted on Hawley’s website.
The Senator’s agenda includes various provisions relating to law enforcement. Providing funding to hire 100,000 new police officers nationwide, anti-doxxing legislation for federal officials and increasing the penalty for damaging federal courthouses are a few of the measures included in the agenda.
The bill aimed at hiring 100,000 police officers seeks to do so through grants given to local communities to provide funding for the new hires. Hawley said the proposal will need “several billion” dollars in increased funding, but that it is needed to protect law enforcement and to deal with the recent increase in crime across the country.
“We are in the middle of a major crime wave, there’s no two ways about it,” Hawley told The Heartlander. “The murder rate is up over 30% just in the last year. I think that year-to-year increase might be a record, and that is not a record that you want to set. We are in the middle of a major violent crime epidemic.”
“We need more cops, we need to pay our cops better, and this bill will do that.”
The funding structure of the bill is modeled after that of the 1994 crime bill, which added 100,000 police officers nationwide and gives local departments “lots of flexibility”, according to Hawley.
The bill also states that the increased funding for local departments must be employed to hire new officers and cannot be allocated towards other uses.
The anti-doxxing legislation would direct the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to “develop programs to protect the privacy and personal information of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials.” The legislation also includes language to double the penalty for doxing law enforcement officials and other federal officials.
Other measures included in Hawley’s legislative agenda are aimed at protecting law enforcement officers from targeting and ambushes. The provisions would create a separate criminal offense for targeting someone based on their status as a law enforcement officer and increase criminal penalties for ambushing police officers.
Various cities across the country have been under fire recently for attempts to move funding away from police departments and allocate it towards “community spending”, essentially defunding their local departments. According to the Senator, that’s why this legislative agenda is needed if Americans want to stay safe.
“I don’t know how you can look at what’s happening in this country with crime, look at the danger our families and children are in and not say ‘we need to do something, we need more cops,’” Hawley said. “We need to draw a line in the sand and say ‘police need to be protected and they need to be supported.’”
Hawley criticized Democrats and their attempts to defund law enforcement and said if Democrats don’t allow these bills to come to a vote, they’ll be telling law enforcement that they don’t support them.
“I think it will send the message that they really don’t have the police officers’ backs but that’s pretty clear because all of these Democrats are defund the police advocates,” Hawley said. “All across the country, who’s defunding the police? Democrats. Here in the Senate, who advocates cutting police budgets? It’s the Democrats.”
Hawley called the recent efforts to defund police departments in urban areas like Kansas City and St. Louis a “bad, bad mistake” and thinks eventually, the public will turn against them.
“I think there’s going to be a reckoning here where the public are going to want to see that their families are being protected and that Congress is supporting police officers.”
“American families aren’t safe, but they deserve to be,” Hawley said. “And they can be if we will act. This is not the time to defund the police or vilify them, but to support the brave men and women in blue – and put more of them on the streets. Immediately.”