Master Deputy Brandon Collins was conducting a traffic stop Sept. 11, 2016, when a truck slammed into his Johnson County Sheriff's Department patrol car and engulfed it in flames.
The tragic death of Collins was drawn into the conversation Wednesday at the Capitol during a House committee's hearing on a bill elevating prison sentences for people convicted of causing injury to employees of a law enforcement, fire protection, public works or emergency management agency.
"I am as disgusted today as the day Brandon's killer received such a light sentence," said Sgt. Christopher Mills, of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department. "I could write many pages of my thoughts on this issue, but I think I can simply say, I feel it is time the state of Kansas better protects those who protect us."
Under Senate Bill 45, the penalty for involuntary manslaughter and aggravated battery of a public safety sector employee would be a higher severity felony.
The bill, referred to as “Brandon’s Law,” was requested by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department. The legislation was endorsed by the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, Kansas Sheriff's Association, Kansas Peace Offers Association and Kansas Emergency Medical Services Association.
“Senate Bill 45 will bring proportionality to crime of this nature,” said Greg Smith, a governmental affairs specialist with the sheriff's department. “It enhances this sentence if the person injured or killed is a public safety sector employee. This isn’t about hate. This is about justice."
Adrian Espinosa-Flores, who pleaded guilty for killing Collins in October 2017, was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.
Mills, who said he spoke with Collins several hours before the accident, said he wasn't convinced Espinosa-Flores would serve the entire sentence.
“I pray if a similar tragedy occurs in the future, a true sense of justice can be felt by the family, friends, co-workers and the community of those who made the ultimate sacrifice," Mills said.