HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - State lawmakers are working to increase the penalty for murdering a first responder.
Lawmakers who wrote the bill want to make this a capital offense, which means if a person is found guilty of this, they could receive the death penalty.
The term 'first responder' includes emergency medical personnel as well as law enforcement officers and guards at jails and prisons.
WHNT News 19 reached out to HEMSI. Officials with that organization say they their employees are their most important asset and they see the bill as a sign of support from the Legislature.
"It has some severe consequences to it and it is a very serious issue because you have to remember, not just in the state of Alabama, but in this country, there's a lot of places, especially in the rural and smaller communities where they rely on volunteers," said Don Webster, HEMSI community relations officer.
The language of the bill outlines several different scenarios where a person could be charged with a capital offense if they murder a first responder, including if the first responder is killed while they are performing their duties.