RED WING, Minn. (WCCO) — The city of Red Wing is the first in the state and the second in the nation to pass a resolution designed to protect police officers from harm.
The resolution calls for anyone who hurts a police officer to be charged with a hate crime. The hope is cities across the country adapt this stance.
“Currently 30 officers in 2015 have been killed by gunfire, that’s a little over three a month,” Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman.
From Harris County, Texas to Fox Lake, Ill., officers have died at the hands of those who they swore to protect.
“They are targeting not the person but the position and the authority,” Pohlman said.
A call to honor the lives lost came from the National Fraternal Order of Police. The group wants cities, counties and states to acknowledge this crisis and work with them to address the violent surge against officers.
“I think it’s a very trying time for law enforcement,” Pohlman said.
Red Wing’s city council is the first in the state to pass a resolution in support of law enforcement. It calls for them to turn on their red and blue lights daily at 11 a.m.
Officers pull over into a parking lot or side street to flash their lights for one minute. This will go on every day for a month, a minute of remembrance for every life lost in the line of duty.
“The national Fraternal Order of Police is looking at federal legislation that would make it a hate crime to attack law enforcement,” Pohlman said.
That push starts at the local level. Red Wing’s resolution calls for any attack on an officer to be considered a hate crime.
“We take very seriously any threats against our police,” Pohlman said.
Council Vice President Peggy Rehder says she hopes her city sets the standard for others.
“I’d like to see the state legislators do the same thing and make this statewide statement and mean it,” Rehder said.
The National Fraternal Order of Police not only wants the expansion of Federal Hate Crime laws to include police, it also wants to reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program. Red Wing hopes its action is enough to get people at the state level to react.