In a world full of evil-doers, our law enforcement officers stand between us and the bullets. We know the sacrifice our officers make.
Sadly, criminals now target law enforcement simply because these public servants wear a badge and maintain peace in our communities.
To address the growing incidence of crimes against law enforcement officers, I've introduced the Blue Lives Matter Act, legislation that protects those who protect us.
These types of criminal acts deeply affect communities. They are designed to create terror and panic, and intimidate those who keep us safe.
Unfortunately, we've seen a spate of high profile attacks on law enforcement personnel in recent months. This is horrific. The husbands and wives of officers, already well acquainted with sleepless nights, must now face the added anxiety of cop hunters roaming the street.
Communities function because we belong to something bigger than ourselves. Individuals may have different opinions, beliefs and policy preferences, but democratic government gives us a chance to reconcile these differences peacefully.
When criminals assassinate police officers, they strike the heart of community by attacking the very people who work to uphold our system of democracy and justice. And when the police force is under attack, it is distracted from effectively guarding the citizenry.
A hate-motivated attack on a police officer is an attack on all of us: both on our own personal safety but also on the life of our community.
Thankfully, police officer fatalities have been on a downward decline. But a recent study conducted by the Department of Justice suggests that the proportion of officer deaths caused by ambush attacks has increased between 1990 and 2013. In 2014, there were an incredible 15 ambush killings.
But we don't need statistics to know officers are under attack. Simply turn on the news and you'll see another devastating story.
Ismaaiyl Brinsley traveled to New York several months ago hoping to kill a cop. He walked up to the patrol car of officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, shooting and killing them at close range. In February, Herschel Ray Jones III left his ex-girlfriend's house "looking to kill a cop." Sadly, Jones found Danville, Ohio, officer Thomas Cottrell, leaving him for dead in the late hours of the night.
Colorado Springs also knows the pain and brokenness caused by hate-motivated ambushes. In 2013, Evan Ebel assassinated Tom Clements because he was the head of the Department of Corrections in Colorado.
Our communities will never fully recover from these tragic losses. But an enhanced penalty for law enforcement killers will help bring society back into balance. Those who stand between us and the bullets need all the support we can provide. The Blue Lives Matter Act protects those who protect us.
Ken Buck is the U.S. representative for
Colorado's 4th Congressional District.