COLUMBUS — State Representatives Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and J. Todd Smith (R-Farmersville) last week applauded the Ohio House passage of Substitute House Bill 236, their legislation to increase penalties for certain assault offenses if the victim is a hospital police officer.
The bill defines a “hospital police officer” as a police officer who is employed by a hospital that employs and maintains its own proprietary police department or security department and is appointed and commissioned by the Secretary of State.
“HB 236 provides police officers who work in hospitals the proper protection if they are assaulted on duty,” said Rep. Plummer. “These officers face offenders who typically are in some type of crisis and can become combative. It is our duty to pass the proper legislation to protect these officers who are simply trying to protect the hospital staff.”
The bill increases the penalty for felonious assault to a first degree felony if the victim is a hospital police officer. If the hospital police officer suffered serious physical harm as a result of the offense, the court must impose a mandatory minimum prison term of three to 11 years.
Additionally, the bill increases the penalty for aggravated assault to a third degree felony if the victim is a hospital police officer. The court would also have to impose a mandatory prison term of 9, 12, 18, 24, 30, or 36 months if the hospital police officer suffered serious physical harm.
“The greatest honor in this position is the opportunity to serve others, but being able to serve those who serve is especially rewarding,” Rep. Smith said. “I’m glad these officers fully trained by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy now will have full protection under the law.”
The penalty for assault is increased to a fourth degree felony if the hospital police officer is performing their official duties. If the officer suffers serious physical harm due to the offense the court must impose a mandatory prison term of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, or 18 months.
House Bill 236 will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.