Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has filed legislation that offers greater protection to police officers.

Legislation filed by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker would make it a felony to assault and cause "serious bodily injury to a police officer."  The State House News Service says Baker's bill would require judges to sentence someone convicted of causing serious bodily harm to a police officer to a minimum of one year in jail.  Currently the offense is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum two and a half year jail sentence.  The State House News Service says the Governor's bill would increase that to a ten year maximum sentence and restrict a judge's discretion in sentencing.

Baker issued a statement saying, "Under current law, sufficient penalties do not exist for individuals who assault police officers and cause serious harm."  The statement continues, "The absence of such penalties makes the job of law enforcement that much harder and more dangerous, and illustrates the need to increase those penalties and ensure the punishment can meet such an offense."

Baker filed a similar bill last year but it was shipped off for study and never reemerged.

I support Baker's initiative given the current climate of disrespect for law enforcement in some quarters.  Keeping the peace has become a dangerous business these days.  Police officers deserve the added protection this initiative provides by acting as a deterrent to those who believe that, "Pigs in a blanket, fry em' like bacon," is good policy.

Urge your legislative delegation to support (HD 3894) and provide more security to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect yours.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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