Legislation co-sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo that would strengthen penalties for targeted attacks on police officers, firefighters and other first responders has passed in the state Senate.

Griffo was joined by local law enforcement officials in front of the Utica Police Department's Memorial Wall on Monday to highlight the "Community Heroes Protection Act."

The legislation would elevate attacks on first responders to a Hate Crime.

"Being a first responder is inherently a dangerous job, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything in our power to protect those who risk their lives every day to protect us," said Griffo.  "Targeted attacks against our police, fire and first responders are only getting worse, yet these brave men and women are as committed as ever to keeping our communities safe, no matter how much adversity they know they must confront. That exceptional courage and public service must never be denied, and I am proud to support this legislation to make clear that any hateful acts against our first responders should bring the most severe punishment."

The legislation is being considered by the Assembly.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi issued the following statement on the Community Heroes Protection Act

“As a sponsor of the Assembly version of the Community Heroes Protection Act, I am working diligently for its passage.  Anyone committing violence against a first responder simply because the victim is wearing a uniform should be charged with a hate crime, and punished accordingly for this act.  It is time to send a message that we will not tolerate attacks on those who serve and protect our communities.”