Legislators plan to introduce bills to protect law enforcement and their families

Two Republican members of the Indiana General Assembly have announced just days apart their intentions to introduce legislation in response to recent threats against police officers and the shooting of an off-duty police officer’s home and squad car in Indianapolis.

Rep. Wendy McNamara, R-Evansville, said last week she will file a bill that will make it a Level 5 felony to threaten, by words or actions, a public safety officer or their family. On Tuesday, Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, said he will author a bill that will expand the enhanced penalties for public safety officers who are harmed when acting in their official capacity to also include when the officer or the family is harmed – on or off-duty – just because they are known to be a public safety officer.

“With the recent targeting and violence against police officers, it’s imperative for Indiana to update its laws to protect our public safety officers both on- and off-duty,” Merritt said. He cited the recent arrest of March Eugene Ratney in July after officials allege he fired 17 shots into an off-duty police officer’s Indianapolis home and squad car.

McNamara’s bill also will allow law enforcement to seize a convicted criminal’s real or personal property if it can be tied to organized crime.

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