Bill Would Provide New Authority to Probation Officers
Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), in addition to Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) have introduced new legislation that would protect probation officers and give them the authority to arrest a third party who forcibly interferes with an officer’s performance of his or her official duties.
Current law allows a probation officer to arrest a probationer or individual on supervised release if the officer has probable cause that the individual has violated a condition of their probation or release. It does not, though, address a probation officer’s authority when a third party attempts to physically obstruct the officer or cause the officer physical harm.
“This legislation will give probation officers important tools to protect themselves against hostile individuals who attempt to harm them or otherwise interfere with their ability to carry out their important mission,” said co-sponsor Senator Hatch. “At the same time, this legislation will free up resources for local police forces, who will no longer need to accompany probation officers as frequently in order to provide backup. Many states give state probation officers authority to arrest third parties who forcibly interfere with an officer’s performance of his or her official duties. It makes sense to give federal probation officers the same authority.”
The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) has endorsed the bill. Nathan Catura, National FLEOA President said,“As we have seen in numerous instances over the past several months, the risks to law enforcement have never been higher, and there are far too many on the federal, state, and local level who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty this year alone. One of the ways that we can address the rise in violent assaults is to ensure that law enforcement officers have all the tools necessary to protect their own safety and that of the public they serve. It is for these reasons that the ‘Probation Officers Protection Act’ is a legislative priority for FLEOA.”
Posted in General News