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Lawmakers seek stronger penalties for crimes against first responders


Several Michigan lawmakers are pushing for stronger deterrents when it comes to targeting firefighters, paramedics and police officers- including raising the penal stakes for those who attempt to do so.

“People are frustrated with society,” said firefighter-turned Republican State Rep. Jeff Yaroch. “They are frustrated with government and they are using our firefighters, police officers, and paramedics as targets to communicate their frustration with government.”

Last week, Republicans in the State House pushed forward a new proposal that would add an additional two years of jail time for anyone who targets first responders.

According to Up North, the politician says the bill is in response to threats made against first responders on a daily basis.

“People they arrested are saying I am going to get you, I’m going to get your family,” said Yaroch. “The laws don’t necessarily apply because they are off duty.”

However, Democrat State Rep. and police officer Jewell Jones thinks the law is not going to be useful in deterring crimes against first responders.

“I don’t see that as being much of a concern,” Jones said. “I think it’s about how do you interact with the community and what the department that you are working with is doing to build more of a community relation. I think that is something we need to get to in our nation.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is also opposed to the bill, claiming that the community should be put before first responders.

“All the research shows that typically when we have enhanced sentences, they are used in low-income communities of color to basically get a plea deal out of somebody,” ACLU Michigan spokeswoman Kimberly Buddin said.

The bill is currently being mulled over in state legislature.

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