A picture of Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Robert C.
Democrat PA

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  • Eric Williams Correctional Officer Protection Act of 2015

    by Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

    Posted on 2015-12-16

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    CASEY. Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Toomey for his work on this legislation--our work together. As Senator Toomey did, I especially want to commend Don and Jean Williams, the parents of corrections officer Eric Williams. I will not reiterate the horrific nature of his death; Senator Toomey outlined that. I cannot imagine more of a nightmare for a corrections officer and for his or her family.

    We can bring some measure of protection to these officers by making sure that every possible circumstance is one in which the officer has pepper spray to be able to prevent an attack or to slow an attack down enough until that corrections officer gets help.

    I want to say how much we appreciate the fact that this is bipartisan. This is one of those issues that should not have any kind of political division. Senator Toomey outlined the challenge and also the solution for this problem.

    This is not a guarantee, but it means that if a corrections officer-- and they are always outnumbered, by the way. If they are outnumbered, they will have some measure of protection.

    I want to emphasize one thing I certainly forgot about or maybe never fully understood until I was in a line at corrections officer Eric Williams' viewing before his funeral. The line was full of law enforcement officers. I think sometimes we forget--and it was made clear to me that night--that these individuals are part of law enforcement, just like police officers at the local level or State police officers or other law enforcement personnel. When you work in a Federal prison and you are a corrections officer, you are part of law enforcement.

    Those of us who work hard to provide resources for law enforcement should once again support legislation like this. I want to thank Senator Toomey for his work. I want to thank those who made this possible. I hope we can have this legislation pass through the Senate before we leave by the end of this week.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.

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