AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A lawmaker representing the Shenandoah Valley wants police and first responders protected under Virginia hate crime laws.

20th District Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell (R) recently filed a bill with the General Assembly that calls for expanding the definition of hate crimes to include crimes committed against police officers, firefighters and emergency medical personnel.

Bell says officers like the ones killed last month in Dallas were attacked based on the uniform they had on.

"You've seen a huge increase in the amount of violent events, and violent actions toward caregivers, whether they be police, fire or EMS. I think what you're probably seeing is you're seeing some effort to address that great increase that is unquestionably there," said Thomas Jefferson EMS Council Executive Director Tom Joyce.

The commonwealth’s current hate crime laws protect victims of crimes on the basis of race, religion and ethnic origin.