How big is the line of duty death problem getting?
In the past decade the amount of on duty police officers killed by gunfire has dropped, but recently it has started another incline. In a recent study by Associated Press Lisa Maria Pane from “The Christian Science Monitor”, “From Jan. 1 through Wednesday, 135 officers lost their lives. Some died in traffic accidents, but nearly half were shot to death. That's a 56 percent increase in shooting deaths over the previous year.” This epidemic can spark a large growth in stress and nerves in officers. Possibly leading more to be killed. In a quote by NPR, “Still, the rise in shooting fatalities in 2016 — and especially the increase in ambush killings targeting law enforcement officers — has police officers on edge.” The effects from the deaths is beginning to impact officers in their everyday life and is making their work harder from them.
How do line of duty deaths affect society or fellow officers?
When a fellow officer is killed in the line of duty the effects can be hard on society and fellow officers by causing a lot of stress and sadness. According to police training website Police One, “Regardless of how close or distant the proximity of police departments and jurisdictions are, the resulting pain, sorrow, and grief has far-reaching impact.” This states that with the death comes a lot of pain for not only the family, but also the department, city, or even state. The effects can be very hard on a community as a hole. According to the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, “When an officer dies it sends shockwaves throughout the department and causes major trauma. And, with this trauma comes the repercussions of traumatic stress.” This states that even oner deaths will send a wave of stress and problems into the community.
Can officer's prevent these deaths?
In the past few years a lot of officers have lost their lives. It is very difficult for officers to stop a lot of these deaths. For example, according to Michelle Ye Hee Lee from the Washington Post, “ vehicle-related death can include instances where officers are intentionally struck by offenders.” This is something that is hard for officers to prevent because they don't know when or where it will happen. Also many officers are killed when they are of guard in ambush attacks. According to USA Today in 2016, “52 of those officers were killed by gunfire, a 58% increase.” An ambush style attack is hard for an officer to see coming and hard to prevent, and as you can see that number is rising.
Do crime rates affect the number of deaths?
Across the last decade number of police killings has never stayed at a steady rate. Experts believe that there is a correlation between crime rates and police deaths. For example, Lisa Desjardins from PBS News talks about how when the crime rates go up so do the number of police deaths, and when the crime goes down so does deaths. This is supported by her quote from PBS Newshour, “That theory is bolstered by several low-crime and relatively low-police-death decades in the last century: the 1950s and the 1990s especially.” This shows a direct correlation, showing that police deaths rise at times where crime rates also go up. This can also be affected by the number of people breaking laws because they no longer fear police. According to Perry Chiaramonte from Fox News, “As criminals see the police restrained by new laws, policy and regulations that restrict tactics like "stop and frisk" or "broken windows," they no longer fear the police and certainty of arrest.” When people do not fear arrest the crime rates will go up along with the number of police killings.
How are ambush attacks affecting this problem?
Because of ambush attacks the number is rising greatly because of how dangerous they are. In an article by Christopher Ingraham from the Washington Post, he states that, “the assaults are spontaneous -- the result of an attacker taking advantage of an unexpected encounter with an officer.” This shows the danger because an officer will unknowingly put themselves into danger. Ambushes are on an all time high since the 1980’s. According to Ann Givens from The Trace states, “That’s the highest number in at least a decade.” This states that the number of ambushes on police are on the rise, killing more officers.