CONCORD, N.C. — It’s been nearly one year since Concord Police Officer Jason Shuping died in the line of duty.
On Monday -- what would have been Shuping’s 26th birthday -- Channel 9′s Susanna Black explained the change his widow wants to see, something that has been gaining attention on a national level.
At the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., there are the names of more than 22,000 officers who’ve died in the line of duty since 1786, carved on the walls.
“It’s just a sense of finality seeing all these names,” said Haylee Shuping, Jason Shuping’s wife.
Haylee was there for the first time to see the name of her husband, one of the newest additions to the walls.
“Seeing Jason’s name here, here forever, it’s a somber experience,” she said. “It’s a reminder of course that my husband is no longer with us but he is with us in spirit.”
At 25 years old, Jason Shuping was shot and killed in the line of duty by a suspected carjacker in Concord in December 2020.
By all accounts, he was a hero that night and it’s only fitting that his name is now permanently displayed for all to see.
It’s a tradition to get a rubbing of the names at the monument, a keepsake that Haylee and Jason’s parents will take back with them. But Haylee said the fact that a piece of paper is all they’ll take back proved why she has to fight for something else in D.C -- the Protect and Serve Act.
The act is a bill that would give stronger protections for law enforcement officers in the form of harsher penalties for those who intentionally hurt them. Haylee has already voiced her support to Sen. Thom Tillis and Channel 9 was there as she got the chance to do it again, this time with Congressman Richard Hudson.
“It means a lot to me to have that legislation and the momentum behind it,” Haylee said to Hudson.
“I’m definitely co-sponsoring that and will do anything I can to help advance that. Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.
“Just keep advocating for us and for families of law enforcement, and keep pushing the Protect and Serve Act because it really means a lot to me,” Haylee responded.
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Hudson told Channel 9 after the meeting that he’s in awe of Haylee and her strength and plans to keep pushing the bill until it’s made law.
“To have gone through what she’s gone through and now be an advocate for other families in this situation, I just admire her so much,” Hudson said. “So, I’m going to continue to have conversations across the aisle with my colleagues and see if we can create some momentum for it.”
Haylee said trips like this one without Jason will never get easier.
“Some days are still rough. There’s the good and the bad days, but I try to take them each day as they come,” she said.
A day like Monday, surrounded by those who love Jason the most, helps keep her going.
“It makes me feel very thankful. I hate that we’re under these circumstances, but I’m incredibly honored I can be a voice for law enforcement and families as well,” she said.
So far, the Protect and Serve Act has been referred to committees in both the House and Senate but no action has been taken at this point.
(WATCH BELOW: Family, colleagues of fallen Concord police officer head to DC to honor legacy)
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