Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Steve Shannon Calls For Putting Public Safety Over Partisanship

Especially with the current GOP leadership in the House of Delegates, we've seen bitter partisanship often get in the way of real solutions. One would hope that the Republican leadership would be willing to put partisanship aside when it comes to making decisions regarding public safety.

Apparently that's not the case as the Republican leadership refused to take a vote on House Bill 966, which would extend protections to a special agent of Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control. A recent decision by the Court of Appeals has renewed the discussion surrounding the issue and Steve Shannon has issued the following statement about the case and the need to stand up for public safety officials.
“Last week’s decision by the Court of Appeals demonstrates a weakness in Virginia law. In Cline vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, the Court of Appeals ruled that a person who assaults a special agent of Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) cannot be prosecuted under Virginia’s criminal felony statute that prohibits assaulting a law enforcement officer. These special agents are empowered to enforce Virginia criminal law and face very real dangers in doing their jobs. Those who put their lives on the line to protect us, the public, should have the same protections as all other law enforcement officers."

“During the 2008 session of the General Assembly, I introduced House Bill 966 specifically to address this problem by extending greater protections for the brave men and women of the ABC. Sadly, the leadership of the House majority refused to allow a vote on the bill.

“Protecting our public safety officers should never be a partisan issue. I hope this Court ruling will lead the House of Delegates to reconsider the legislation and close this loophole in our criminal law. As Attorney General, I will make passage of this bill a priority.”

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