Each year the FBI compiles data relating to not only the number of law enforcement officers killed or assaulted but also the causes. It is no surprise the recently released 2016 report shows an increase in both officers killed and assaulted. What does cause alarm is who is falling victim and how.
If you have ever been involved in completing agency Uniformed Crime Reports (UCR) I ask surely you often feel it is a waste of time. Even though the process has become increasingly automated it can still be a pain in the butt to do. But, while you are sipping your third cup of joe and wishing you were on vacation, remember this data is what allows the FBI & DOJ to produce many valuable training exercises and informative reports. One such report is the Annual LODD Statistics.
This report lists the officers killed in the line of duty, including a breakdown of the types of circumstances which lead to the death. It also provides similar information concerning officers assaulted and provides a break down for each regarding the age of officer and years of experience. Here is what we can learn, and what we should be asking ourselves, based on the 2016 report.
• 118 officers were killed in the line of duty, up from 86 the previous year. Not surprisingly police work continues to be dangerous and appears to be getting more so, despite the advances in protective gear and tactics.
• 66 of those officers were killed in a felonious manner, that is they were a victim of an attack rather than an accidental death such as fall or automobile accident. This too is an increase – up from 41 last year.
• 57,180 officers were the victim of an assault. Again, police work is dangerous and those we deal with are generally not the stars of society but when compared to 50,212 in 2015 this number indicates an increased willingness to fight among some populations.
• The average officer killed in the line of duty was 40 yrs. of age and had 13 yrs. experience. These are not rookies making mistakes due to lack of knowledge, these are experienced officers, often those in a position to teach the rookies, who are falling victim.
• 62 of the 66 deaths were the result of firearms but only 51 were wearing body armor at the time of the attack. Why isn’t every officer wearing body armor and what makes today the day when it is okay to be without it?
• Ambushes were the most common circumstance leading to death with 17, surpassing disturbance calls at 13. Disturbance calls have long been considered the most dangerous call because you simply do not know what you are walking into. But the increase in ambushes means you must be on guard 110% of the time, even when taking a lunch break or catching up on paperwork.
Sadly I doubt we will ever reach a point in time where the number of officers killed drops to zero, even if we only consider felonious deaths. Even sadder is the fact that I do not see the upward trend reversing itself anytime soon either. It is incumbent on us, the officers and supervisors working today, to use this information to make sure that we do not find ourselves part of next year’s statistics.
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.