McGorty looks to increase penalties for assaulting off-duty police officers

State Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122) wants anyone who assaults an off-duty police officer to face increased criminal penalties, and legislation he has proposed this session of the Connecticut General Assembly aimed at accomplishing this was heard today 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 Rep. 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.”

McGorty, who has volunteered with the  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 measure is necessary.

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, and those he knows and works with in the first responder community support the proposed change in the law.

“An assault on a police officer who is protecting the public and preserving the peace is a terrible and intolerable offense,” added McGorty. “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. This session of the Connecticut General Assembly adjourns at midnight, Wednesday, May 4. If passed and signed by the governor, the new law would go into effect this coming October.