Senate District 20
Tim Schaffer
Schaffer Introduces Bill to Protect Police, Firefighters and First Responders
August 27, 2020

COLUMBUS—State Senator Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) announced today that he has introduced legislation that will enhance protections for Ohio’s emergency service responders and their families.

“Over the past few months, we have seen how our nation’s emergency responders, police officers, firefighters and EMTs have been the targets of intimidation, harassment and assault,” Schaffer said. “This has led many of these brave and outstanding men and women to leave the force as they no longer feel that it is worth risking their personal well-being for the difficult and sometimes thankless tasks they perform. This measure will strengthen protections for our first responders in Ohio and make sure their families and co-workers are protected from these types of attacks."

Senate Bill 359, introduced in the Ohio Senate on Thursday, amends the current Ohio Revised Code intimidation section (ORC 2921.03) to extend protections to emergency service responders - which includes any law enforcement officer, first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, volunteer firefighters and their families. While the offense does not limit the application of violations from other sections of the revised code, the added language would charge a third degree felony to anyone who knowingly does either of the following:

  • Attempts to influence, intimidate, or hinder an emergency service responder from discharging their duties through the use of force, threat, or by filing a fraudulent writing.

  • Attempts to intimidate, harass, or terrorize an emergency service responder, or their family, by causing over $50 in damages to real or personal property.

The bill will also allow for law enforcement officers to file a lawsuit against people or organizations who restrict the officer’s civil rights during the performance of their duty or for filing a knowingly false complaint against the officer. In doing so, the officer may recover fees for emotional distress, court costs and other reasonable expenses. 

“In regard to the Emergency Service Responder bill draft, the Ohio Ambulance and Medical Transportation Association deeply appreciates Senator Schaffer’s efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our industry’s frontline workers and their families and we look forward to working with him on this legislation,” said Lauren Huddleston, Executive Director for the Ohio Ambulance and Medical Transportation Association.

To learn more about Senate Bill 359, click here.
of terms
What is session? What is a caucus? Find out about these and other commonly used terms related to the Ohio Senate.