- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are proposing bills that would make attacking a law enforcement officer a hate crime.

Republican Rep. Marsha Haefner’s bill would consider certain offenses hate crimes if they were committed because the victim worked as an officer or first responder, the Springfield News-Leader (https://sgfnow.co/2gIiIK2 ) reported.

Incoming Republican state Rep. Nick Schroer, who is proposing a similar bill, said protecting law enforcement and first responders is a pressing concern and that he hopes hate crime status would work to deter future attacks.

“The issues that are going on right now with our law enforcement and first responders are just beyond me,” Schroer said. “We need to keep them free and keep them out of harm’s way the best that we can.”

Current state law considers attacks motivated by race, color, creed, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability as hate crimes.

Other police protections are also being called for, including a Blue Alert system similar to Amber Alerts to notify the public about suspects when law enforcement officers are shot.

Missouri has the third-most shootings of officers per capita in the U.S., according to 2016 data from Everytown for Gun Safety.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com


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