There’s an interesting law that resides in Indiana that acts as an extension to the rightful, but also often controversial when concerning the mainstream media, castle doctrine bill.

Now while many find that the castle doctrine bill holds significant value when it pertains to protecting your life and personal property when in your home or personal vehicle, this amendment that was added to it does have police officers concerned that it may be taken out of context when interpreted and applied by citizens.

Specifically, police officers in Indiana are speaking out against a law that was introduced back in 2012 that gives citizens the right to use deadly force to protect themselves against a public servant who oversteps his or her authority.

Now while I believe that no public servant has any right whatsoever to overstep their appointed authority, the issue may be is that many people don’t quite understand the level of authority endowed to officers.  They also often misconstrue lawful orders as some infringement of their rights or flat-out believe some lawful orders to be illegal in their delivery.

Tim Downs, the president of the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, says the law, which was signed by Governor Mitch Daniels, might give people the impression that they can shoot police with impunity.

“It’s just a recipe for disaster” he told Bloomberg.

That’s not an at all crazy speculation either, as unarmed people who are lawfully detained resist arrest all the time under the misguided notion that they’re legally allowed to. Now, those same personas might think that an officer lawfully entering a dwelling can be gunned down as if they’re a home invader intent on doing harm.

So, what exactly does this law say?

It authorizes people to protect themselves or their property by using deadly force in response to “unlawful intrusion” by a “public servant.”

The measure is essentially just a public-servant-specific amendment to the state’s 2006 castle doctrine bill, which allows people to do whatever they have to stop someone from illegally entering a home or car. What this spells out is what can culminate in tragedy from lawful entries into homes by police officers and more fatal traffic stops.

Indiana is the first, and at this point, only state to specifically allow the use of force against police.

In a more interesting turn during the creation of the law, the National Rifle Association was in support of this addition to the castle doctrine bill, however; it was likely support from the perspective of cases where the new amendment was carried out justifiably by citizens who were in fact victims of public servants committing a crime against them in their homes or vehicles.

The state Supreme Court had previously ruled that citizens had no legal right to resist police officers, even in a case of unlawful entry or when having a crime committed against them by police.

So, before this new law was passed, Republican state Senator Michael Young detailed an anecdote that people had no legal right to protect themselves from abuse at the hands of authorities. The Senator further explained that a homeowner could do nothing in the event someone returned home to find a police officer raping their wife other than filing a lawsuit later.

From a logical perspective, no one would want to be the victim of a crime regardless of who the perpetrator is. So, when the Senator painted that kind of scenario, its not hard to understand why it would seem like an appealing amendment to some. The question is, was it actually needed?

Not according to law enforcement officials, who lobbied against the bill. They said it’s wholly unnecessary, as Indiana was not exactly being ravaged by renegade cops. Tim Downs further speculated:

“It just puts a bounty on our heads.”

Sergeant Joseph Hubbard also mentioned that he now worries that every time he pulls over a car, the driver might shoot him and cite the law as justification:

“Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.”

It’s certainly a mixed bag of tricks and there’s a lot of points that have and can continue to be brought up on both sides of the debate regarding the existence of this law. From this writer’s perspective, all I can really conclude is that it poses danger to officers lawfully enacting their duties, but affords protection to citizens who may be legitimate victims of crimes against them by public servants.

Editor note: In terms of officer protection, Law Enforcement Today is proud to back the Back the Blue Act and encourages all Americans to stand behind UCOPS in this noble effort to provide protection to LEOs.  Scroll down to find out how you can support it.

The physical assaults on members of our law enforcement communities are at an all-time high.

Those intent on the extermination of officers have ushered in an unprecedented level of lawlessness, disregard for human life and moral depravity.

And for those of us looking for an end to this violent display of hatred towards the men and women the serve and protect us, it has not appeared that help was on the way.

Then Senate Bill 1480, also known as the “Back the Blue Act,” was introduced and the United Coalition of Public Safety (UCOPS) championed the effort of seeing that this legislation becomes law.

Allow me a moment to recap what we have seen over the past few years. This is not an exhaustive list; it is merely a reminder of exactly what we are dealing with.

While it shows that many assaults of our LEOs are merely spur of the moment actions to avoid arrest, it also provides evidence that numerous attacks are premeditated and carried out with malice and a malicious pre-meditated strategy.

A man drove up the east coast to New York City for the sole purpose of assassinating members of the NYPD. And he did exactly that. While two officers were sitting in their patrol vehicle, he walked to the window of the vehicle and shot both officers at point blank range before they had time to react or respond.

Another man positioned himself in a high-rise building in Dallas and started targeting cops. By the time he was eliminated, he had murder 5 Dallas area cops from his sniper position.

A California patrol officer responding to a vehicle accident, was gunned down by a passing cyclist as she tried to speak with the accident victims.

Six officers were shot in an ambush in Baton Rouge. Three of those officers died of their injuries.

Over the past several weeks alone, we have seen many officers shot while serving a warrant. Luckily, six officers in Philadelphia survived their encounter. Sadly, as we have detailed in numerous pieces, we have lost multiple members of our LEO family as they were simply and dutifully doing their jobs. 

We could fill pages recounting the events that have led to far too many funerals officers, deputies, constables and agents. We could fill even more space sharing the stories of officers attacked during the most routine traffic stops or encounters in which people decided resisting and fighting with officers was the best option for them. Officers have been injured severely, or even killed, in these types of scenarios.

Now, back Senate Bill 1480 and the UCOPS efforts to see it signed into law.

What does this bill do? It allows for federal prosecution of these criminals if the state or local jurisdiction fails to prosecute or if the sentence is not commensurate with the crime upon conviction.

Who does it cover and provide protection for?

  • Police officers
  • Judges
  • Firefighters
  • Prosecutors
  • Pretrial service officers

What type of violent acts are covered?

  • Assault officer while performing duties
  • Attacks on former LEO based on duties performed
  • Attacks because the person was perceived to be a LEO

Does the bill carry details on how sentencing should be impacted for these heinous acts against or emergency responders and other members of our criminal justice system? Yes, it does. 

  • Assault (bodily injury): not less than 2 years, not more than 10 years
  • Assault (substantial bodily injury): not less than 5 years, not more than 20 years
  • Assault (serious bodily injury): not less than 10 years
  • Deadly/Dangerous weapon used: not less than 20 years
  • Death: minimum of 30 years, up to death penalty.

Thankfully, someone at the federal level of legislators is taken this seriously and is willing to put pen to paper and address this issue.

The bill, in its entirety, can be read here.

Here at Law Enforcement Today, we keep a very close eye on legislative measures and how they impact our community. We also love to highlight groups that champion efforts to protect our officers.

UCOPS happens to be one of those groups. So, who are they?

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

In their own words: In 2017, nine Law Enforcement Associations came together with a vision and a desire to impact the national discussion on law enforcement in a dynamic way. This alliance was formalized by establishing the United Coalition of Public Safety (UCOPS).

And their mission?

The United Coalition of Public Safety works on behalf of law enforcement officers and the communities they serve nationwide to shape strong partnerships and break down communication barriers; building trust through active engagement, honest dialogue, education, and outreach.

Lastly, what efforts are they deploying to see that the “Back the Blue” Act makes it to the Oval Office for the President’s Signature?

“UCOPS is launching a digital ad campaign to support U.S. Senate Bill 1480, the “Back the Blue Act,” which will allow for federal prosecution of those that target law enforcement officers for assault. We need your help to advocate for the passage of S. 1480 by getting your membership and their families engaged. By visiting www.UCOPS.org your members and their families can spend under a minute to send a targeted, pre-written email to their respective members of Congress.”  

Now is the time for law enforcement to stand up and demand that we get the protections we need to do the dangerous work our members do every day! 

We are providing the links to the multiple methods for you to show your support of this effort through social media and direct email.

Facebook

The UCPOS digital ad and related post can be found at the link below.  Please share this with your audience and tag other organizations or your House and Senate representatives.  Please post with these hashtags: #YESonS1480 #BackTheBlue

Facebook Link

Twitter

The UCPOS digital ad and related post can be found at the link below.  Please share this with your audience and tag other organizations or your House and Senate representatives.   Please post with these hashtags: #YESonS1480 #BackTheBlue

Twitter Link

YouTube

If you would like to distribute the ad directly, you can share it from YouTube which can be found at this link. For those seeking to embed the video onto your website, the YouTube video has the embed settings on and you can access the code from the video on our

YouTube Link

E-mail Your Legislator

In addition to sharing the video through social media, your organization can assist in building support for S. 1480 by having your members go to this link and fill out the form to send an e-mail to their local Congressional representative and their State’s US Senators.  A sample email is already written for you. It will take you no more than 1 minute to complete.

If you use Twitter, the online tool will let you tweet at your representatives as well.

We would like to say thank you to Angela and Stacey for providing the details on the UCOPS efforts to see this bill enacted and our prayer is that in doing so, it saves countless lives and puts an end to this tragic pandemic we are currently facing.

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  

Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!

Facebook Follow First