A state bill that would make the murder of a first-responder a capital offense passed the House of Representatives. Right now in Alabama, the murder of an on-duty law enforcement officer or prison guard are a capital offense.
If the bill passes, an individual could face the death penalty murdering an emergency medical services professional licensed by the state department of public health, firefighters and volunteer firefighters.
Huntsville Fire and Rescue Captain Frank McKenzie has seen his fair share of dangerous situations working as a firefighter for 24 years.
"We go on a scene, the scene is getting out of control, emotions run high, people's heart rates are up, you know... things can happen," McKenzie said.
The state House of Representatives voted to pass the bill unanimously, 94-0. People in the community believe protecting first-responders at all costs, is a must.
"It's somebody that's there ASAP, when you need them, they are there right away," Sherree Danielly, who lives in Madison County, said.
McKenzie says the upgraded charge could change the outcome of a situation.
"With that little extra layer of protection there, maybe somebody might think twice before they actually do something."
The senate now must vote on the bill. Last year, similar legislation did not make it to the senate before the end of the session.