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Federal Officer Safety Act Becomes Law

January 05, 2013  | 

A federal law providing immunity for federal agents from local prosecution was signed into law by President Obama with the "fiscal cliff" deal on Wednesday.

The Officer Safety Act, which was strongly supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), provides a legal process to federal officers who intervene to prevent the loss of life or serious bodily injury to a third party.

Prior to the act's passage, federal officers could be exposed to local criminal prosecution if they could not substantiate that they acted within the scope of their employment. Now, federal officers will be able to petition the court for a removal hearing in order to have their case heard in a federal venue.

The act was sponsored by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). It was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

The legislation stemmed from the injustice faced by Will Clark, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. In 2008, while serving in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Special Agent Clark intervened to save the life of a battered neighbor. Clark was subsequently charged with murder.

"It's important for our legal system to support the heroic acts of federal officers when they risk their lives in their personal capacity to prevent the loss of life," said Jon Adler, FLEOA's national president.

Related:

Bill Would Protect Fed Agents Who Intervene To Stop Violence

Supporters Rally for ATF Agent Facing Murder Charge in Virgin Islands

Case Dismissed Against ATF Agent Tried for Murder In Virgin Islands

Tags: ATF, FLEOA, Special Agents, U.S. Congress, Barack Obama


Comments (10)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10

Don @ 1/5/2013 1:31 PM

Its about time we get support

olemisscop @ 1/5/2013 3:09 PM

I'm not a federal officer, but I think anyone who carries a badge and a gun has the duty to step in and protect public safety when needed. For that matter, anyone with the capacity to save an innocent life should act accordingly without fear of criminal charges.

olemisscop @ 1/5/2013 3:09 PM

I'm not a federal officer, but I think anyone who carries a badge and a gun has the duty to step in and protect public safety when needed. For that matter, anyone with the capacity to save an innocent life should act accordingly without fear of criminal charges.

Tom Ret @ 1/5/2013 4:29 PM

This is long overdue. Kudos to Grassley and Reichert.

court @ 1/6/2013 5:05 PM

@ ole miss. I agree to an extent. That law should be cover all who carry the badge, BUT, many agencies are getting too soft and political. Thus not allowing officers to step in and do the things they were sworn to do. the term, "PROACTIVE," will soon completely disappear. The upper brass and supervisors are too afraid to do their jobs after watching the executives stepping all over each other in unethical manners, only to promote before they retire. Their minds aren't in it for the job anymore... It's all about the money. Deputies and officers are all pawns. they are easily replaced. Time to only have your retirement in mind now also. All the PAWNS should put their blinders on and answer the calls that come in... Sounds Dangerous I know.. But no one cares until someone gets killed. I will vow to fight knowing that i MAY loose my life. But i am not willing to VOLUNTEER my life for decisions made by unethical thinking.

Federal Agent @ 1/7/2013 2:49 PM

It's about time. However, there are severe restrictions of what type of intervention Federal Officers can do by agency. There are some federal agencies that specifically prohibit their officers from intervening if the incident doesn't involve employees of that agency. They are told to be a good witness, and protect yourself.

TERRY F. ZECH @ 1/8/2013 5:20 AM

As a VA police officer this is really a great thing. We see felonies all the time in Detroit and cannot act. If I can save another officer's life or a citizens life that is a plus.

Marshal @ 1/8/2013 1:10 PM

This is great. But, all officer should be protected for doing this. The way society is now it is scary to step in an do anything even if you are right because of the fear of a lawsuit. People can sue the police for any little thing now days and also sue the supervisors. BS lawsuits are getting more and more out of hand and until it is stopped it isn't safe for officers to do much anymore. It use to be an officer could take a drunk home but now you have to worry about that drunk tripping and falling and hurting themselves and then suing you for not taking better care of them. Glad this happened but we all need more protection.

James Aldridge @ 1/8/2013 4:54 PM

At first glance this looks like a great thing for all Federal Law Enforcement Officers. At second and closer glance, it does not cover the majority of Federal Law Enforcement Officers. It only covers those who are covered by Federal Law Enforcement Retirement. It does not cover VA Police Officers, DoD Police Officers, FPS Officers, Mint Police Officers, and the majority of the rest of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers in the Federal Goverment. Instead it only covers agents from the FBI, DEA, Marshalls, etc. Dont get me wrong, they should be covered, but so should the rest of us. The definition used should be that which is found in Title 18 USC 115. This needs to get admended as quickly as possible.

Jim @ 1/15/2013 11:47 AM

Where can I download the law to read it and pass it along?

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