Tester Stands With Law Enforcement, Sponsors “Probation Officers Protection Act”

Senator Backs Bipartisan Legislation During National Police Week

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is recognizing the service of Montana’s law enforcement officers during National Police Week by sponsoring bipartisan legislation to better protect probation officers and enhance their ability to keep communities safe.

Tester’s bill, the Probation Officers Protection Act, provides probation officers with the authority to arrest individuals who attempt to obstruct probation officers’ duties, or who commit physical harm against probation officers. Law enforcement officials have told Tester that probation officers’ current lack of arresting authority exposes them to greater harm.

“Law enforcement officers are sent into harm’s way every single day and it is critical that they have the tools needed to safely perform their responsibilities,” Tester said. “This bipartisan bill provides probations officers with the ability to defend themselves and preserve evidence when someone aims to obstruct justice.”

Current law only provides probation officers with the authority to arrest their probationer or an individual on supervised release if that person violated a condition of their probation, but that authority does not extend to individuals not on probation. This leaves probation officers without the legal ability to intervene when encountering uncooperative or violent individuals who obstruct their official duties.

Tester’s bill is supported by Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Fire Fighters, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs’ of America, National Association of Police Organizations, National Narcotic Officers Associations’ Coalition, and the National Volunteer Fire Council.

Tester is recognizing the service of Montana Police Officers all week. On Monday, he introduced the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act to honor first responders who make the ultimate sacrifice. He also submitted the names of all Montana law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty into the Congressional Record.