Bill seeks harsher penalties for illegally using blue lights

Bill seeks harsher penalties for illegally using blue lights

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A bill that seeks a stronger penalty for a person illegally using a blue light in the state of Arkansas has the strong support of a woman who was raped nearly 20 years ago by the "Blue Light Rapist."

"I was his 5th victim," Shannon Woods told Little Rock television station KARK about Robert Todd Birmingham. Birmingham was sentenced to life in prison plus 60 to 80 years in connection with the case.

On Monday, the state House of Representatives is expected to take up House Bill 1385, sponsored by Rep. Tim Lemons, R-Cabot.

Lemons said the bill, which would make it a Class C felony to knowingly possess a blue light if the person is not a police officer, auxiliary officer, a coroner or a legitimate seller of blue lights and a Class D felony to unlawfully use the light, puts teeth in the state law.

"This law will increase the penalty for the sale and transfer of a blue light lens or an insignia that is on a police vehicle," Lemons told KARK. "We want the citizens to know and give them the reassurance that when they see a blue light it is actually a police officer or law enforcement officer and not someone trying to be one."

Woods said she believes education on the issue is important as well.

"Instead of feeling sorry for myself or being ashamed, I want people to hear my story, if it helps just one person, my job is done," Woods said.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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