Assault on a police officer

A new law that took effect November 1 increases the penalty for assaulting an off-duty law enforcement officer.

House Bill 1318 addresses an oversight in statute that made it a felony to assault a uniformed officer, but only a misdemeanor if the officer was off-duty. The new law makes an assault on an off-duty officer a felony.

“The way the law was written gave criminals an incentive to pursue law enforcement officers in their personal lives,” said author Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “The legislation does not create a felony in all situations, but it does make it possible to charge the assailant with a felony if they are targeting members of law enforcement.”

Sanders said in light of the assaults that occur on law enforcement officers throughout the country, the law is necessary to prosecute the hardest of criminals.

“It is a hardened criminal that looks to go after law enforcement,” Sanders said. “Especially in light of the continued assault on our law enforcement officers nationally, it is necessary to have the proper laws in place to prosecute these criminals appropriately. This is one more layer of protection for those law enforcement officers who work so hard to keep our communities safe. We owe it to them to provide proper protections.”