The number of police officers killed or injured in the line of duty soared last year, the FBI reported.
Not surprisingly, the findings, which were announced last week, got little coverage in the media.
Sixty-six officers died from “felonious” assaults, an increase from 45 in 2015 and the second-highest total in the past decade.
Additionally, 57,180 officers were assaulted in the line of duty, with nearly 30 percent of those officers being injured in the incidents. There were 50,212 assaults against law enforcement listed in the 2015 FBI report.
- The average age was 40 years old, with an average of 13 years of law enforcement experience.
- Sixty-four of the officers feloniously killed were men, and two were women.
- Nearly all of the officers were killed by firearms—62 out of 66. Of the 62 officers killed by firearms, 51 were wearing body armor at the time they were killed.
- Four officers were killed intentionally with vehicles.
- The most common categories of circumstance surrounding officers’ line-of-duty deaths were ambushes (17), followed by answering disturbance calls (13), and investigating suspicious people or circumstances (nine). (For more information on these incidents, see the summaries section of the report.)
The largest number of fatalities occurred in the South with 30, including the highest number in Georgia, which recorded seven.
Unfortunately, the trend seems to be continuing this year. See https://www.odmp.org/
Some researchers have disputed the Ferguson effect—the argument that police officers are less inclined to fight crime because of the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. I disagree with that analysis given the overall increase in crime in the past two years.
Nevertheless, it appears that another impact of Ferguson needs investigation. Given the increase in attacks against police, it is possible that people have become more emboldened in confronting cops violently as a result of Ferguson.
The news media tend to focus on the deaths of civilians rather than police officers. The Washington Post, for example, has been tracking such deaths but doesn’t include any mention of cops killed in the line of duty.
It’s worth noting that 17 African-Americans, who were “unarmed,” were killed in confrontations with police in 2016, according to DaPost’s calculations and definition of unarmed.
When you dig into the facts of the cases, “unarmed” seems rather poorly applied:
–Dyzhawn L. Perkins, an unarmed 19-year-old black man, was shot on Feb. 13, 2016, in a house in Arvonia, Virginia. Buckingham County sheriff’s deputies were investigating reports of an assault. Perkins crashed through a window and attempted to attack the deputies.
–Vernell Bing, an unarmed 22-year-old black man, was shot on May 22, 2016, on a street in Jacksonville, Florida. Bing led a police officer on a pursuit and then crashed into the officer’s patrol car. Police said that Bing ignored commands to stay inside the vehicle.
Any loss of life is tragic, but it appears that the news media are more concerned with so-called “unarmed individuals” than police officers.