New York State Senator Fred Akshar is lending his name to the Community Heroes Protection Act.

The Colesville Republican says the measure would designate crimes that target police, firefighters and other emergency service workers punishable as hate crimes.

According to a statement from the Senator’s office, researchers have found there was a 68% increase in firearm-related fatalities among law enforcement personnel between 2015 and 2016.  Meanwhile, a Youngstown, Ohio firefighter was shot on the scene of a house fire in December while another firefighter, who was off-duty was beaten at a Phoenix, Arizona nightclub and died at a hospital.

Akshar says families and friends are losing loved ones who put on their uniforms every day to protect and serve their communities.