Rep. Michele Carringer honors Tennessee’s fallen officers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State Rep. Michele Carringer, R-Knoxville, today commemorated National Police Week and urged Tennesseans to honor and remember law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as the family members, friends and fellow officers they left behind.

The names of 282 officers killed in the line of duty will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. on May 15.

“I will forever admire the strength and fearlessness of all law enforcement officers who protect our community every day. My heart goes out to the family and friends of our fallen officers as they remember their lives this week,” Carringer said. “Your loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice, and we will always do everything we can to honor their legacy.” 

Seven fallen officers are from Tennessee and include Sgt. James Russ, Chattanooga Police Dept; Deputy Tucker Blakely, Knox County Sheriff’s Office; Sgt. William Cherry, Macon County Sheriff’s Office; Deputy Shannon Lang Sr., Marion County Police Dept.; Officer Geoffrey Redd, Memphis Police Dept., and Chief Christopher Cummings, Samburg Police Dept. Town Marshal Thomas Neely, Middleton Police Dept. was killed in the line of duty in 1899.

Carringer and her Republican colleagues took steps this year to strengthen laws to protect police officers against assault with the Back The Blue Act.

The new law, which goes into effect July 1, offers additional protections that will enhance the penalty for assault against a law enforcement officer from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class E felony punishable by a mandatory minimum 60-day sentence and a $10,000 fine.

“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day and it’s vital that we as lawmakers do what we can to support them,” Carringer said. “I can’t thank our officers enough for putting on their badge every day and working to keep us safe.” 

In Tennessee, assaulting a first responder, including nurses, firefighters, and emergency services personnel, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. Assault includes knowingly causing bodily injury or knowingly causing offensive physical contact, including spitting, throwing or transferring bodily fluids, human pathogens or waste onto a first responder.

There were 1,603 simple assaults on law enforcement officers last year in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.  

Sixty police officers across Tennessee have died in the line of duty since 2019, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a non-profit dedicated to honoring fallen officers across the United States.

Michele Carringer represents District 16 which includes part of Knox County.

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