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Officer Safety Act Passes Into Law

Today marked another remarkable legislative achievement for FLEOA! The FLEOA initiated "Officer Safety Act of 2012 was previously attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

This act was signed into law today, and marks another legislative victory for FLEOA Members and all federal law enforcement officers.

The concept for this legislation was born out of the injustice done to hero ATF Special Agent Will Clark. During his personal time, Will intervened heroically to save the life of a battered neighbor, and was ultimately charged by the USVI attorney general with murder. Will, in spite of his heroic action, became the victim of local bad politics in the USVI. FLEOA General Counsel Larry Berger recognized the need to establish a statutory vehicle that would codify specific criteria for having similar cases removed to a federal venue for adjudication. Working with the FLEOA Legislative Committee and our outstanding Legislative Counsel Chris Granberg, Larry drafted a formidable position paper that was presented first to Congressman Reichert, then Senator Grassley. Both gentlemen introduced the Officer Safety Act (H.R. 4309 and S. 2276) and it was next attached to the NDAA (H.R. 4310). Ultimately, the Officer Safety Act draws upon the legislative spirit of the Federal Law Enforcement Good Samaritan Act to protect federal officers who intervene in their personal capacity to protect the loss of life or serious bodily injury.

Thanks to the strong leadership of Senator Grassley and Congressman Reichert, the formidable support from the House Law Enforcement Caucus, and the unrelenting advocacy of the FLEOA membership, the bill moved forward quickly and was passed into law during the second half of the 112th session of Congress. FLEOA also recognizes the support of the FBI Agent's Association, and FedTalk radio show hosts Debra Roth and Anthony Vergnetti.

The text of the Officer Safety Act appears in Section 1087, beginning on page 338, in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 (see below for the text):

 

SEC. 1087. REMOVAL OF ACTION.

Section 1442 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:

(c) Solely for purposes of determining the propriety of removal under subsection (a), a law enforcement officer, who is the defendant in a criminal prosecution, shall be deemed to have been acting under the color of his office if the officer--

(1) protected an individual in the presence of the officer from a crime of violence;

(2) provided immediate assistance to an individual who suffered, or who was threatened with, bodily harm; or

(3) prevented the escape of any individual who the officer reasonably believed to have committed, or was about to commit, in the presence of the officer, a crime of violence that resulted in, or was likely to result in, death or serious bodily injury.

(d) In this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) The terms `civil action' and `criminal prosecution' include any proceeding (whether or not ancillary to another proceeding) to the extent that in such proceeding a judicial order, including a subpoena for testimony or documents, is sought or issued. If removal is sought for a proceeding described in the previous sentence, and there is no other basis for removal, only that proceeding may be removed to the district court.

(2) The term `crime of violence' has the meaning given that term in section 16 of title 18.

(3) The term `law enforcement officer' means any employee described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of section 8401(17) of title 5 and any special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State.

(4) The term `serious bodily injury' has the meaning given that term in section 1365 of title 18.

(5) The term `State' includes the District of Columbia, United States territories and insular possessions, and Indian country (as defined in section 1151 of title 18).

(6) The term `State court' includes the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, a court of a United States territory or insular possession, and a tribal court.