Sometimes I speed. Shhh. Don’t tell my Law Enforcement Manpanion. Granted, there are a couple of times that he has been painfully aware my not-so-secret sin because I was pulled over. I hate that feeling. The one where your legs get all tingly and your heart starts beating 25 million times faster. I usually go ahead and get all my identification and proof of insurance ready (yes…I know the routine at this point). I role the window down and start apologizing profusely. And, depending on how the Officer is responding to me, I may or may not cry (I do not suggest this…it rarely works) and then…I may or may not drop my Manpanion’s name. I know. It’s shameful. Now, with all my shameful tactics in mind, I do respect what these men and women do and I know they deal with a large number of people who are rude and disrespectful. It’s not the officer’s fault that he pulled you over. It’s your fault. So, at the end of my encounter, good outcome or less favorable outcome, I do my best to smile and thank the officer for what they do. Believe me, I have to swallow my pride (and my tears) to be able to say “Thank you” for a costly speeding ticket.
In my circle of friends, I get to hear “old war stories” from Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) who have dealt with the part of our society who have fallen into an unforgiving cycle of bad behavior, drugs, theft, and prostitution. (Ahem…please note that my speeding stories do not fall into any of these categories). Some stories are funny, some have made me shudder, and some have caused a tear or two. LEOs deal with people who have turned on each other and then turn on the Officer too. Simple assault and simple battery against officers are an everyday reality. Aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and “solicitations of sodomy” are pretty common as well. And then these people who assault and threaten these LEOs are arrested and have a court date and, sometimes, allowed to plead to something less than what they actually committed. Not only do these criminals disrupt the peace, break the law, and often, cause physical harm to others, they also regularly assault the men and women who are there to protect our safety.
It is because of this that Lance LoRusso, an Atlanta Attorney and former Police Officer, drafted a bill with the help of State Senator Lindsey Tippins and State Senator Tommie Williams to provide additional offenses for those who commit crimes against an LEO and make it impossible for them to obtain first offender status. The bill has made it through the Senate and is now in the House (thanks to House Rep. Alex Atwood).
I drafted and submitted this bill after working with LEOs who were injured, some severely, only to find that the perpetrator was given First Offender status…In our society, we rely on law enforcement to protect us. When a suspect assaults, attacks or injures a LEO, he or she has just faced the highest level of force our constitution will allow us to use to stop crime. The actions of that suspect should be treated differently.
I couldn’t agree more.