Public Comments for: HB123 - Firefighting, emerg. medical services, or law-enforcement equipment & vehicles; destroying, penalty.
Destroying public safety equipment/emergency vehicles is detrimental to the ability to provide the most basic life-saving assistance. From May thru the late summer of 2020, our capital city had police cars set ablaze, windshields smashed, doors repeatedly kicked, firefighters and EMS providers interrupted with violence while in or around their vehicles. Damaging this equipment has nothing to do with free speech or the right to assemble. Placing this equipment out of service for repair, or declared a total loss, leaves our most vulnerable citizens without timely protection. This behavior is felonious when it is less than $1,000 and should be made a class 6 felony.
I do not support any bills that criminalize folks
This written testimony expresses the Virginia State Firefighters Association support for HB 123, and provides insight to the risks and consequences that the bill is intended to prevent and deter.
Because EMS vehicles carry a number of very expensive medical equipment and drugs makes them prime targets for stealing and/or damaging EMS vehicles in order to gain access to steal these items. It does not matter how much damage is done in gaining access. The thief or perpetrator could very easily do $50,000.00 in damages and theft to an ambulance. Moreover, theft could occur to fire equipment by gaining access to compartments that carry small hand tools to large power tools that could bring a large price in the "hot" market for tools, etc. The need for a strong sentence for damage and theft from fire and EMS vehicles is needed to cut down on this. A major concern is the fact that during the course of a year it is not unheard of where an ambulance is stolen from the area of a hospital emergency department. The 3 agencies listed above ask that that this bill pass and the penalties be increased. Thank you.