New Law Protects First Responders

Recently signed into law were several bills that offers a benefit for law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and first responders. House Bill 953 establishes additional protections and enhanced penalties under Louisiana’s hate crimes law for police officers, firefighters and first-responders who are targeted as victims because of their profession.

“Coming from a family of law enforcement officers, I have great respect for the work that they do and the risks they take to ensure our safety,” said Gov. Edwards. “The men and women who put their lives on the line every day, often under very dangerous circumstances are true heroes and they deserve every protection that we can give them. They serve and protect our communities and our families. The overarching message is that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Louisiana.”

Prior to becoming law, hate crimes in Louisiana included offenses against any person because of their perceived race, age, gender, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. This new law adds police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.

“The signing of this bill gives us all an opportunity to pause and remember the extraordinary acts by seemingly ordinary people who serve our state as first responders. Whereas citizens flee danger, police, fire and EMS personnel run to it,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent. “For those individuals who choose to target our heroes, the message formalized in this legislative act should be clear and the consequences severe. On behalf of first responders throughout Louisiana, we thank the legislature and the governor for helping to make this law a reality.”

“I am very pleased that the legislature saw fit to pass this legislation,” said Michael Ranatza, Executive Director of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association. “This is an indication of where our priorities are in Louisiana as far as protecting our law enforcement officials. I appreciate the governor’s signing of the legislation.”

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The West Bank Beacon

The West Bank Beacon is a local monthly publication with a mailed circulation of over 15,000 and thousands more distributed at points from Gretna to Grand Isle, the Beacon tells the story of a thriving community. A “good news” newspaper, our mission is to make readers aware of how both individuals and groups are making a positive difference in the neighborhoods where they live. This includes a focus on civic and city initiatives, volunteer efforts, and charity fundraisers, to name just a few examples.

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