MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste understands the grief Kimberly Police Department officials feel after Kimberly officer Nick O’Rear was shot and killed Tuesday.
Chief Battiste’s department had an officer die in the line of duty in 2019.
“It’s devastating to a department whenever you have an officer, fellow brother, or sister that loses their life,” Battiste said.
Seven law enforcement officials died in the line of duty last year. In the chief’s 30 years of law enforcement experience, he had not seen violence like this toward officers until recent years.
State lawmakers are also saddened by the death of another officer.
"You're seeing a huge increase of violence against law enforcement," said Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster. "I think you'll see a lot of legislative reaction to that this time."
The Alabama House Judicial Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would add law enforcement officials to the state’s current hate crime law.
"Will this bill stop the sporadic violence against law enforcement, it probably wouldn't," said Rep. Rex Reynolds, R-Huntsville, who sponsored the bill. "It will show that we care about our officers. We're not going to stand for any type of assault."
Rep. Mary Moore, D-Birmingham, said gun control is one of the roots of the violence against law enforcement and others.
“Everything goes back to gun control," Moore said. "It’s a sad day. Our officers leave home and leave their families every day, not knowing if they’re going to come back.”
Moore was not aware of any gun control proposals in the current session. Other lawmakers said they expect more proposals regarding law enforcement in the future.