The cold-blooded execution of Detective Benjamin Marconi in San Antonio is stirring up fear, anger and uncertainty in police officers and deputies everywhere.
"Makes me sick," said Tom Moore, President of the Harris County Fraternal Order of Police. "They say that could have been me, what can I do to protect myself and our sister officers."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott renewed his commitment to pass the Police Protection Act this coming legislative session.
He first proposed the law after the ambush-style attack on Dallas Police officers this summer. The law would make it a hate crime to target police officers simply because they wear a badge.
"It tells people we're not going to tolerate individuals killing somebody simply because they're wearing a uniform, no more so than we would tolerate people killing because of their sexual orientation, religious beliefs or color of their skin," said Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union.
The HPOU and FOP are strong supporters of the Police Protection Act.
"It would be a deterrent for people to think twice," Moore said.
The law would increase criminal penalties for any crime against an officer, whether or not the crime qualifies as a hate crime. And perhaps most importantly, it would organize an education campaign to instill respect for law enforcement in Texas communities.
"I think it's very likely it could pass," Hunt said.
The specific bill has not been filed at the legislature yet, but will be in the next few weeks. The Governor's Office says it's been working Texas lawmakers to rally support and ensure it can pass. HPD's union says there's no reason why anyone would choose not to support this bill.
"Look, if you're not targeting officers, you shouldn't be concerned," Hunt said. "If you don't want to go out and kill a police officer, it will never, ever affect you, so why would you oppose it?"
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