Illinois lawmakers propose "Blue Lives Matter" legislation - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Illinois lawmakers propose "Blue Lives Matter" legislation

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DU QUOIN -- In recent months, we've seen police come under attack through words and guns. That's why some in Illinois want to help keep them more safe.

A proposed "Blue Lives Matter" law would offer more protection to police officers, first responders, firefighters and corrections officers. 

When Du Quoin Fire Chief Bob Shaw and the rest of his firefighters leave the station on a call, they don't know what they are getting into when they arrive on the scene. 

Every day, Shaw puts his life on the line to protect his community. 

"It kind of comes with the nature of the job and sometimes it can be scary," said Shaw. 

It's a scary job that recently got the attention of Illinois lawmakers and those who aspire to the job.

State Senate Dale Fowler said, "These first responders and public safety officials are out every day saving our lives, and I think that it's important for us to take the steps necessary to do the same for them."

To protect more law enforcement officers and first responders in Illinois, State Senate Candidates Dale Fowler and Paul Schimpf have proposed a "Blue Lives Matter" law.

"Many times, they are going into situations that are very very dangerous and many times it's not because they're dangerous, but because people will target these people in case like this," said State Senator Dave Luechtefeld 

Under the proposal, police officers, firefighters and first responders would get protection under the Illinois hate crime law. 

Schimpf said, "If someone is making a pre-meditative attack on first responders solely because of what they are doing in defense of an assault in serving our communities that should be treated as a hate crime. We should give that tool to the prosecutors, so they can go after those criminals for the full extent of the law."

And while first responders appreciate the help, they know it may not stop attacks.

"It is a good thing, but ultimately, I believe that if somebody wants to do something like that, if they've gone to the point where they're willing to attempt to do something, they're probably going to do it," said Shaw. 

Senator Luechtefeld will introduce this bill during the veto session, but it will likely take time before Chief Shaw will see results. 

Louisiana's "Blue Lives Matter" bill went into effect at the beginning of this month. The City of Chicago is also discussing similar legislation. 

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