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EMS assaults may become felony in Colo.

A Senate bill would give mandatory jail time to anyone convicted of assault, and life in prison without parole for anyone convicted of murdering an EMT or medic

DENVER — Denver EMS professionals may soon have the same legal protection against assaults as police and firefighters.

A proposed bill would give mandatory jail time for a person convicted of assaulting a paid or volunteer paramedic or EMT, and life in prison without parole for murdering a paramedic or EMT, the Denver Post reports. 

State Sen. David Balmer (R-Centennial) is the sponsor for the bill to raise the punishment from a misdemeanor to a felony. Thirty-eight states have similar legislation protecting EMTs and paramedics

“If you slug a cop, it's a very serious felony,” he said. “But, if you slug a paramedic, it's not. We want to make sure those two penalties are made the same, so we can protect all our first responders,” he told 9 News

He’s hoping it makes it to the Senate floor, and passes, before the legislative session ends on May 7. Otherwise it will be reintroduced next year.  

According to the Emergency Medical Services Association of Colorado, 90 percent of emergency service providers have reported being struck by a patient, and 98 percent reported having a patient threaten them with physical violence.

Denver Health Chief Paramedic Scott Booman said it’s important to realize that all responders on medical emergencies face the same threats.

“Our people are out there every day trying to help the public to the best of their ability,” he said. “They deserve equal protection under the law.”

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