COVINGTON, Ky. -- A new Kentucky law classifies violence against police officers as a hate crime.
The law, which takes effect Thursday, would protect police officers and first responders for carrying out their duty to protect and serve. If someone assaults the first responder while they are performing those duties, they will be charged with a hate crime.
Kenton County Police Chief Spike Jones said House Bill 14, commonly referred to as "Blue Lives Matter Law," helps protect police officers and emergency responders.
"EMTs have been assaulted while attempting to help individuals in need of medical attention and help," Jones said. "Firefighters are equally concerned."
But Commonwealth attorney Rob Sanders says the hate crime legislation doesn't carry much weight.
"People get real excited -- ‘This is a hate crime, This is a hate crime.' But under Kentucky law, it doesn't really matter all that much if it is a hate crime because it doesn't bring any more punishment to the case," Sanders said.
Sanders said the law won't necessarily increase someone's jail sentence, but it does give a judge a stronger basis to deny probation or parole.
Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill March 20.