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2014 – The Year of the Officer Ambush | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

2014 – The Year of the Officer Ambush

I hate when the media, politicians or a host of others looking for headlines and sound bites use terms such as “War on Drugs” or “War on Crime.” I did not enter law enforcement to fight a “war;” if I had wanted to do that I would have stayed in the military. I became a law enforcement officer to help others – sometimes that “help” came in the form of an arrest but it was meant as assistance nonetheless. Unfortunately, whether any LEO signed up for it or not, there is no doubt all of law enforcement is now in a battle for their lives.

Statistical evidence of the danger officers face is presented in bold print in the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund preliminary 2014 fatality statistics.  First, there were total of 126 fatalities for the year – a 24% increase from last year. Second, 50 of these fatalities were firearms related – an astounding increase of 56%! Third, and most disturbing, is the fact that ambush-style attacks were the #1 cause of officer deaths – accounting for 14 line of duty deaths.

Brooklyn, NY - January 04, 2015: Police officers carry casket outside Aievoli Funeral Home for the funeral of slain New York City Police Officer Wenjian Liu. Photo by lev radin / Shutterstock.com
Brooklyn, NY – January 04, 2015: Police officers carry casket outside Aievoli Funeral Home for the funeral of slain New York City Police Officer Wenjian Liu. Photo by lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Although shootings, and even ambush attacks, are an expected possibility in any law enforcement officer’s day to day life, it is the calculated and premeditated nature of many of 2014’s attacks that cause the greatest concern.

  • Jamiaru, Utah – Sgt Cory Wride shot and killed while checking on suspected abandoned vehicle.
  • March, California – Deputy Rick Del Fiorentino was shot and killed while searching for suspect in earlier abduction case.
  • May, Alaska – Sgt. Patrick Johnson and Trp. Gabriel Rich were shot and killed while searching for suspect reportedly brandishing a weapon.
  • May, Virginia – Off. Brian Jones was shot and killed while investigating the scene of an earlier murder.
  • June, Nevada – Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck were shot and killed while eating lunch.
  • July, Indiana – Ptl. Jeff Westerfield was shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car.
  • July, New Jersey – Det. Melvin Santiago was shot and killed while responding to a robbery call at a local drug store.
  • September, Indiana – Ptl. Nick Schultz was shot and killed while responding to call of an unknown nature.
  • September, Pennsylvania – Cpl Bryon Dickson was shot and killed while exiting the State Police Barracks to which he was assigned. Trp. Alex Dougless was also shot and wounded during the same attack.
  • November, Florida – Deputy Chris Smith was shot and killed while responding to a house fire.
  • December, NYC – Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car.

In many cases, these officers were not killed by cornered criminals afraid of going to jail and reacting out of desperation, but by cold hearted, calculating murderers who lured officers to ambush sites or gunned them down for no reason other than the uniform they were wearing. When this happens, the game changes and, unfortunately, so do the rules. Survival depends upon approaching every situation as potentially hostile – even a house fire or stranded motorist.

Hopefully, the growing hatred of police and the accompanying belief that violence is the answer changes for the better. Until then…watch your six.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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1 thought on “2014 – The Year of the Officer Ambush

  1. Good article. I just wanted to, unfortunatly, add another officer to your list.

    Scottsdale, Arizona- Officer Jair Cabrera was making a traffic stop when he was shot and killed while still in his truck. The three gang members in the car purposely drove in a manner to be pulled over to commit this attack.

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