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Shelton Rep. Proposes Tougher Sanctions For Attacks On Off-Duty Cops

State Rep. Ben McGorty has proposed legislation to impose stronger penalties against those who assault off-duty police officers.
State Rep. Ben McGorty has proposed legislation to impose stronger penalties against those who assault off-duty police officers. Photo Credit: House of Representatives

SHELTON, Conn. -- State Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122) wants those who assault off-duty police officers to face increased criminal penalties, and legislation he has proposed during the current session of the Connecticut General Assembly to further that goal was heard this week in a public hearing of the legislature’s Public Safety Committee.

McGorty testified before the committee to ask for support for his proposal.

“A police officer may have their shift end, but they never really go off-duty,” said McGorty, who serves parts of Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull. “Many times public safety requires them to go into action when they are present at an emergency, or are nearby. When that happens, they should be just as protected under our laws as they are when they are on their shift.”

Under existing law, the assault of an on-duty officer is a class C felony. The charge carries a minimum one-year prison sentence and a maximum $10,000 fine.

McGorty’s proposal would extend that law to cover off-duty officers.

McGorty, who has volunteered with the Shelton Fire Department for over 25 years, and serves on Shelton’s Board of Fire Commissioners, works alongside police officers in his capacity as a first responder, and says the proposed measure is necessary.

“An assault on a police officer who is protecting the public and preserving the peace is a terrible and intolerable offense,” he said “It is no less intolerable when that police officer goes off-duty.”

The bill, H.B. 5273, An Act Concerning the Penalty for Assault of an Off-Duty Police Officer, remains before the Public Safety Committee and awaits action there.

The current session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight on Wednesday, May 4.

If passed and signed by the governor, the new law would go into effect this coming October.

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