WASHINGTON – Today the Thin Blue Line and Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Acts passed through the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee and will now move to the floor for consideration.
The acts, introduced by Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida and David B. McKinley of West Virginia respectively, were met with immediate support from the American Federation of Government Employees and the Council of Prison Locals.
“Thanks to the hard work and dedication by Rep. Buchanan and McKinley, the men and women who protect our communities at federal prisons will receive greater protections on the job,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. “The Correctional Officers who risk their lives daily to guard some of the most dangerous criminals in our country need support and safety,” he added.
The Thin Blue Line Act – H.R. 115 – was introduced on January 3, 2017, has 20 cosponsors, and “amends the federal criminal code to expand the list of statutory aggravating factors in death penalty determinations to also include the killing or attempted killing of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder.”
The Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act – H.R. 613 – was introduced on January 23, 2017 and has 32 bipartisan cosponsors. The act directs the Bureau of Prisons to provide a secure storage area located outside the secure perimeter for correctional officers to store their personal firearms, and allows employees to store firearms in a vehicle lockbox approved by the agency.
The bill is honor of Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati, a correctional officer who broke up a contraband smuggling group in prison. The group organized a deadly retaliation against Albarati, who was shot and killed by a group of gunmen on the highway.
"Correctional Officers work in some of the most dangerous environments in the country, and we’ve called for more legislation to protect them for years" said Eric Young, President of AFGE's Council of Prison Locals. "By passing these bills, the Judiciary Committee has shown a commitment to protecting the men and women who protect America. Legislation like the Thin Blue Line Act and Lieutenant Osvaldo Albarati Correctional Officer Self-Protection Act will allow correctional officers and their families breathe a little easier at night.”
“We applaud the efforts of Congressional leaders to put forth these bills, and hope that their colleagues on Capitol Hill will stand with them,” Young said. “The working people who protect and serve in our federal prisons deserve every protection we can offer, and I know they will benefit from these two bills becoming law.”