Local Lawmaker pushing for more aggressive laws for assaulting K9 Officers
BRADLEY COUNTY, Tenn (WDEF) – A Bradley County K9 officer that was shot in the line of duty could soon have a law named after him.
“Joker’s Law” aims to make the consequences for shooting and injuring a K9 officer in the state of Tennessee – the most aggressive in the country.
Bradley County K9 Officer, Joker, was shot multiple times on September 22nd during an auto theft investigation.
After the incident, Six juveniles were detained and were charged with 15 counts of Auto Burglary, and Felony Evading Arrest. They were also charged with the Attempted Intentional Killing of An Animal by the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
Since then, Representative Mark Hall has been working to draft a bill – creating stronger laws against shooting k9 officers.
“Attacks and assaults on law enforcement K9s are up. An attack on a law enforcement k9 is an attack on our family and it will not be tolerated here in the great state of Tennessee. So I’m anticipating drafting some of the most aggressive legislation in the country regarding law enforcement K9s,”s says Representative Mark Hall, R- Cleveland.
Currently, people convicted of this crime would only face a minimum of a year in prison. Under Hall’s proposal, time served would increase to at least three years and be listed as a Class C Felony.
“ It’s sad it’s taken an incident like this to shed light where the law is. We feel like this will hopefully be a deterrent in the future and people will stop and think before they do this,” says Adam Lewis with the Bradley County Mayor’s Office.
Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson agrees it’s time for a change and is hopeful that Joker’s Law would set an example for the rest of the country.
“The laws do need to be enhanced. They put our best dog out of business and he’s one of our officers. I fully believe he is one of our officers because he was at work every day. So we have to protect him and get the best laws we can get,” says Bradley County Sheriff, Steve Lawson.
After spending nine days in the ICU, Joker has been discharged and recently returned home with his handler, but the severity of his injuries may take away his ability to be a service dog.
Representative Hall says he will meet with legal counsel later this month to get things properly written up. He then plans to start pushing the bill early next year.