Lansing — Detroit Police Chief James Craig told a panel of House lawmakers that a string of officers shot in the line of duty and growing “anti-police rhetoric” underscore the need to more aggressively punish people who target law enforcement.
Craig told the House Law and Justice Committee that legislation by panel Chairman, Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, would mean an extra two years in prison for attacking an officer and would help send a message that the Legislature is sticking up for police at a time when he and Kesto say they’re under attack.
The bills would add two more years in prison for anyone who assaults, kills or attempts to kill a police officer, emergency services responder or firefighter whether they’re on or off duty. The current penalty ranges from 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for an attack resulting in death to 10 years for an attack resulting in serious injury to four years behind bars for an attack requiring medical attention.
Kesto said the new legislation would add “an extra layer of protection” for first responders at crime scenes.
“It’s an attack on our very way of life and our society as a whole,” Kesto said, adding that he would like the panel to vote on the three bills as soon as next week.
“In 40 years, I have not seen a time like this,” Craig told lawmakers, testifying in support of the legislation.
Craig said violence against police is spurred by “the absence of a loud voice denouncing the violence” and the “anti-police rhetoric that is sweeping across this nation.”
The African-American chief said the Detroit Police Department is “the gold standard” in community-police relations, which is reflected in more homicides being solved as Detroiters grow more willing to share information with police.