State Rep. Mike Mueller (R-51st District) introduced a bipartisan plan Tuesday, March 12, to increase the penalty for criminals who disarm — or attempt to disarm — a police officer.

 Mueller said a criminal who commits an unarmed robbery would currently be punished more severely than an individual who attempts to disarm a police officer.

 His legislation would change that.

 “I find it troubling that someone faces a stiffer penalty for committing an unarmed robbery than using force or violence to take possession of an officer’s duty weapon,” Mueller said. “Punishments must fit the crime.”

 Mueller, who recently retired after 19 years as a Livingston County sheriff’s deputy, speaks from experience. Suspects attempted to disarm him on two separate occasions during the course of his career.

 The legislation was inspired by the death of Oak Park police officer Mason Samborski of Howell who was killed Dec. 28, 2008, by a suspect who took his firearm and executed him after he had become incapacitated during a struggle with the suspect.

 House Bills 4315-16 would increase the maximum sentence for attempting to disarm a police officer from a five-year felony to a 10-year felony and increases the penalty for disarming a police officer from a 10-year felony to a 20-year felony.

 Mueller introduced the bills with Democratic Rep. David LaGrand, a former prosecutor from Grand Rapids.

 “This is a common sense plan that we can all support, regardless of which side of the aisle we sit on,” Mueller said.

 LaGrand agreed. “Police officers must know that legislators have their backs,” LaGrand said.

 The bills have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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