Howard (WQOW) – A state representative is making protecting law enforcement officers his first priority of the new year.
Late Thursday afternoon, Rep. Dave Steffen (R-Howard) introduced the Blue Lives Matter bill in Madison.
WQOW's Green Bay affilliate WBAY reports the bill would elevate specific crimes to hate crimes when officers are targeted or attacked just because they’re wearing a uniform or work in law enforcement. It would increase the maximum penalties on felonies to five additional years in prison and $5,000 in additional fines.
Steffen announced the “Blue Lives Matter” proposal last July after five officers were ambushed and killed in Dallas. Steffen says he’s received overwhelming support for this, even in a state where some may think violence against police doesn’t happen.
“There was also one in Grant County, a sheriff’s officer who was out for dinner with his family, when an individual came up and said, ‘Are you a cop?’ He responded yes, and that individual started beating him up, right there in front of his family. And so these things do happen, even here in Wisconsin,” Steffen said.
According to the Wisconsin Bureau of Justice Information and Analysis, officers are assaulted an average of 712 times a year.
WBAY reports Steffen is currently looking for co-sponsors to his bill before it’s presented for committee hearings. He hopes the bill is heard and voted on during their first day on the floor next month.