Law enforcement officers work extremely hard to protect the people in the area in which they serve. However, these men and women are often the victims of threats, assault, or even murder because of their profession. These officers are fighting to protect and serve the people, yet they are the victims of crimes committed against them because of their occupation as law enforcement officers.

Thankfully, in Washington state, Republicans in the state Legislature are working to protect law enforcement officers by pushing for laws to make them more safe. Yesterday, the state Senate passed Senate Bill 5280, which would make threats and crimes committed against law enforcement officers because of their occupation a hate crime. If enacted into law, this would mean that criminals who target law enforcement officers based on their profession would face more severe charges.

SB 5280 passed on a 35-14 vote. Senator Mark Miloscia from the 30th Legislative District was one of the sponsors of this bill. The bill received approval from all Senate Republicans, as well as 11 Senate Democrats. Democrat Senators from King County who voted against SB 5280 include Senator Maralyn Chase, Senator Bob Hasegawa, Senator Jamie Pedersen, Senator Rebecca Saldaña, Senator Lisa Wellman, Senator Reuven Carlyle, Senator Patty Kuderer, Senator Mark Mullet, and Senator Guy Palumbo. According to The Associated Press, those who voted against the bill said they did so because of “concerns of watering down the hate crime statutes.” That seems like a weak excuse to oppose a law that provides necessary protections for our law enforcement officers. The bill now moves into the House for consideration.

Ultimately, Senate Bill 5280 is a bill that aims to increase the safety of those working in law enforcement and would help protect them from being victims of crimes that are based on their occupation as law enforcement officers.