Under a bill before the Kentucky General Assembly, those convicted of attempted murder on law enforcement officers or firefighters must serve a larger portion of their sentence before being considered for parole.
State Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah sponsored the bill. He says under current state law, if an attempt on a police officer’s life doesn’t cause serious physical injury, it’s considered a non-violent crime. As a result, the perpetrator only has to serve 20 percent of their sentence before being considered for parole.
“Under my legislation, even if there’s no serious physical injury, it would still be classified as a violent offense, which means that the individual would be required to serve a minimum of 85 percent," Watkins said.
“That’s important because, in Kentucky, the fact is that 33 percent of all the inmates are granted parole the very first time they’re up for parole,” Watkins said. “An attempted murder of a police officer or a firefighter is a very serious offense.”
Watkins said his bill has the backing of the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police, the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association and the Kentucky Professional Firefighters Association.
The bill now heads to the state Senate after passing the House Tuesday with unanimous approval.