Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement on legislative passage of the Law Enforcement Protection Act:
“With yesterday’s final vote in the House of Representatives and today’s approval in the Senate, Kansans have reaffirmed their unwavering support for the men and women who serve in law enforcement. The ‘Thin Blue Line’ of nearly 8,000 full-time officers protects our citizens at every hour of every day in every corner of our state against violence and indignities that are unimaginable to many. Those who target law enforcement officers are targeting civilized society itself, and today’s legislative action reaffirms Kansans’ determination to protect society’s protectors. I commend the Legislature for its determined support of this initiative, and I look forward to the governor signing it into law.”
BACKGROUND: On December 8, 2016, at the Kansas Highway Patrol Recruit Class #56 Graduation in Salina, Attorney General Schmidt announced he would recommend the 2017 Legislature strengthen penalties for persons convicted of committing crimes against law enforcement officers. On January 11, he requested introduction of House Bill 2049, the Law Enforcement Protection Act. The measure won wide support in the Legislature and was approved as part of a broader criminal justice bill, Senate Bill 112. The legislation provides that for any felony committed against a law enforcement officer, the penalty may be enhanced. For crimes of severity levels 2 through 10 on the sentencing grid, the enhancement moves the penalty up one level. For severity level 1 crimes, the enhancement moves the penalty up to a life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years.