OKLAHOMA CITY — The Senate gave unanimous approval Wednesday of a bill that would increase the penalty for assault against off-duty law enforcement officers.
According to a press release, House Bill 1318 would make assault against an off-duty officer a felony.
“Law enforcement officers proposed this idea to me because there are cases in which bad guys pursue a member of law enforcement at their homes and in their personal lives,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “My legislation would simply make it possible to charge the assailant with a felony if they are coming after members of law enforcement. We should make sure they’re just as safe out of uniform.”
Currently, anyone who commits assault or assault and battery against an on-duty officer is charged with a felony. But the penalty drops to a misdemeanor if the same crime is committed against an off-duty officer.
“Our law enforcement officers risk their lives every day while on duty. They shouldn’t have to worry about the safety of their families or themselves when they’re off-duty. Unfortunately, though, there are people who stalk, threaten and assault officers when they’re off the clock simply out of revenge,” said Loveless, R-Oklahoma City. “This bill will fix a loophole that has allowed these criminals to only be charged with a misdemeanor rather than the felony they’d be charged with had the assault occurred while the officer was on duty. We must do all we can to protect our law enforcement officers.”
The measure now moves to the governor’s office for her final consideration.