Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora introduced bills to save and honor law enforcement Tuesday during National Police Week.
Gardner introduced legislation to equip every U.S. law enforcement officer with body armor that can withstand a shot from a rifle.
The vests he's talking about are called Type III. Gardner's office said the "vast majority" of officers wear the lesser-resistant Type I or Type II, including officers killed in the line of duty in Colorado.
Most departments, especially smaller ones, can't afford the Type III vests, Gardner's office said. His bill also asks the Boulder-based National Institute of Standards and Technology to research more advanced body armor.
"Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve our communities," Gardner said in a statement. "They are always there to help others and deserve nothing less than our gratitude and thanks. Unfortunately, Colorado and departments across the country have seen too many officer involved deaths and we must do more to protect those who protect us. Our officers should not be put in harm's way without the absolute best equipment and that is why I am introducing legislation, which will make it easier for every officer in the country to purchase body armor that can withstand rifle bullets."
Ten Colorado officers have been shot and three were killed in less than six months. Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish was killed in an ambush, when four other officers were wounded, on Dec. 31.
Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Heath Gumm was shot and killed in an altercation with a suspect in Thornton on Jan. 24. El Paso County Deputy Micah Flick was shot and other officers were wounded in a parking lot shootout with a suspected car thief on Feb. 5.
Meanwhile, Coffman on Tuesday introduced bills to rename post offices in his east metro 6th Congressional District for two officers killed in the line of duty.
The facility at 9609 S. University Blvd. in Highlands Ranch would become the Deputy Sheriff Zackari Spurlock Parrish III Post Office, and the one at 90 North Fourth Ave. in Brighton would be named the Deputy Sheriff Heath McDonald Gumm Post Office.
"Officers Parrish and Gumm exemplified the commitment to public service and gave up their lives in the pursuit of keeping our community safe," Coffman said in a statement. "We are forever indebted to them and their families for their sacrifice."
Gardner participated in the National Peace Officers' Wreath Laying Ceremony Tuesday. He met with cops from Colorado and across the country, his office said in a press release.
"It was a humbling experience to participate in today's ceremony and remember the law enforcement lives we have lost," Gardner stated. "Colorado's law enforcement community has experienced tremendous loss these last few months and I want every officer to know I stand with them and have their backs."