MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Republican state Sen. Greg Hembree has proposed a bill that would enhance the penalties for people convicted of crimes against law enforcement or education professionals.

The bill would add an additional five years to their prison sentences.

Hembree, who represents District 28 in the South Carolina House, said the biggest focus of the bill is to protect and honor public servants in the community.

“They’re a public servant and we’re putting them out there to interact with the public,” Hembree said. “On behalf of the rest of us, and in my judgment, they deserve some special protection just like law enforcement officers.”

K9 units will also be included in the bill.

With a high number of transfers from department to department in law enforcement, the bill stretches enough to ensure the extra protection for all department members.

It’d be pretty hard to draft a statute that slices it that thinly, to say one division gets this added layer of protection and another one does not,” Hembree said. “I think to be fair, across the board, it’s cleaner, better, whether it be a K9 unit, drug enforcement, or patrol.”  

If the bill passes, the next step is to educate the public on the new law. Hembree hopes with the added punishment, it will make people think twice about how their decisions could affect their futures.

Hopefully, people will think twice if they lose their temper; hopefully, think twice before they assault one of our public servants,” ” Hembree said.

Sen. Ross Turner from the Greenville area is a co-sponsor of the bill.