Legislators Introduce Law Designed To Protect Public Safety Officials
Public safety officials from various agencies across the State of Alabama gathered on the front steps of the Alabama State House on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, in support of legislation that would increase the penalty on offenders convicted of violence against members of the public safety.
Law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and rescue squads from across the state stood shoulder to shoulder with members of the Alabama Legislature in support of the “Public Safety Protection Act of 2017” also known as the “Justin David Sollohub Law”.
Officer Justin David Sollohub was killed in the Line of Duty in August of 2011 in Anniston, Alabama. Mr. and Mrs. Byron Morris of Jacksonville were present for the unveiling of the legislation that carries the name of their son.
After the murder of eight law enforcement officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge in 2016, Chief Shane Fulmer and Captain Neil Fetner of the Alabama Chiefs of Police Association’s Legislative Committee began working with Representative Phillip Pettus and Senator Clyde Chambliss on a way to protect members of public safety from these types of vicious attacks. After several conversations and meetings, the “Public Safety Protection Act” was created.
The “Public Safety Protection Act” would increase the penalty for offenders who are convicted of assaulting members of public safety engaged in the performance of their official duties. Under current law, Assault in the 2 nd Degree is classified as a Class C felony and Assault in the 1st Degree is classified as a Class B felony.
If the “Public Safety Protection Act” is passed, Assault in the 2 nd Degree involving a public safety official would be automatically sentenced as a Class B felony and Assault in the 1st Degree would be sentenced as a Class A felony.