Sergeant Nick Risner Act important milestone for 2022 legislative session

Published 10:01 am Sunday, April 24, 2022

By PAUL DEMARCO | Guest Columnist

So another Alabama Legislative Session has come and gone.

This session resulted in a lot of storylines that folks will be analyzing for weeks regarding long-term implications for Alabama and its citizens.

An important bill that passed was the Sgt. Nick Risner Act would bar the early release of felons from Alabama State Prisons if they’ve been convicted of the death of another person with a deadly weapon.

Too many inmates convicted of violent crimes have gotten out of prison to commit more of the same and create more victims.

The bill was introduced after the murder of Sheffield Police Officer Nick Risner, who was killed in the line of duty this past fall by a felon who should’ve never been on the streets.

The man that killed Risner had been released from prison after serving three years of a 10-year sentence for manslaughter because of Alabama’s good time laws.

Risner was one of three police officers in Alabama killed by gunfire in the line of duty in 2021. 2021 was the deadliest year ever for law enforcement nationwide.

It’s important for lawmakers to approve legislation that would put public safety first.

The effort to soften penalties for criminals has been a factor in the national spike in crime. Alabama has been no different as the violence in our state has mirrored what has happened nationwide. This effort will continue next year as more progressive advocacy groups work to take away vital tools from prosecutors and release more inmates from state prisons.

Voters should remind candidates for Alabama state office that they expect public safety to be their top priority.

However, when we look back at the 2022 Alabama Legislative Session, the passage of the Sgt. Nick Risner Act was a success for the state’s representatives and senators, and the right way to honor Risner.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.