Police officers are much like the general public; there are some good folks, some bad folks, and a lot of people who fall in between, all of whom wear the uniform.
But most can admit that there are dangers to the job that most of us will generally never face.
And according to a press release from the FBI, 2022 was particularly bad.
ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS YEARS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT
The American Police Officer is Facing a Heightened Level of Danger
WASHINGTON, DC – Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, released the following statement regarding the National FOP’s recent report on officers shot and killed in the line of duty:
“This past year has been one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement in recent history due to the increase of violence directed towards law enforcement officers as well as the nationwide crime crisis, which has seen criminals emboldened by the failed policies of pandering prosecutors and cynical politicians. Frankly, it is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 36 years of law enforcement.
“Last year we saw more officers shot in the line of duty than any other since the National Fraternal Order of Police began recording this data in late 2015, and this year is not far behind.
“With just days remaining in 2022, we’ve seen 323 officers shot in the line of duty so far this year; up 13% from 2019 year to date. Of those officers who were shot, 60 were killed by gunfire; up 23% from 2019 year to date.
“There were 87 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers this year, which resulted in 124 officers being shot; 31 of those officers were killed.
“Many will often look at this data and just see numbers. We MUST remember that they represent heroes—fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. Thankfully, because of dramatic improvements in medical trauma science and anti-ballistic technology, the lethality of these attacks would be much greater.
“It is our sincere hope, as we begin a new year, that the new Congress will act swiftly and pass the ‘Protect and Serve Act’ to address the national problem of ambushes and unprovoked attacks on our nation’s law enforcement officers.
“If these violent criminals are willing to commit brazen acts of violence against the men and women of law enforcement, we can’t begin to fathom what heinous acts they are willing to commit against law-abiding citizens. As crime rates continue to rise, more citizens in this country are justifiably living in fear, constantly wondering if they too will become a victim. Law-abiding citizens saw the real-life consequences of what happens when elected officials embrace pro-criminal, revolving-door policies and make decisions that put the interests of violent offenders ahead of public safety. These decisions—failures to prosecute violent offenders for their crimes or, even worse, releasing repeat offenders arrested for crimes who show a propensity for escalation of violence—make our communities less safe. These rogue prosecutors are putting innocent lives at risk. When there are no consequences for breaking the law, more people will break the law and crime will increase.
“I call on Americans in every community across the country to join us in taking a stand—to say, ‘Enough is Enough!’ Truthfully, the violence against those sworn to serve and protect is beyond unacceptable; it’s a stain on our society, and it must end. It is incumbent upon our elected officials and community leaders to stand up, support our heroes, and speak out against the violence against law enforcement officers.”
Law enforcement has a tough job, and it looks like it was tougher in 2022 for a lot of police departments. I remember how it impacted the community here when we lost officers in the line of duty, after all.
But this is also part of a problem with violent crime in general coupled with anti-police sentiment fostered in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.
Say what you want about what happened, but police across the nation and even Europe were blamed for what happened there.
I find it hard to believe that an increase in officer fatalities isn’t somewhat tied to that sentiment.
Regardless, it is important to remember that these aren’t numbers. They represent real people, officers who gave their lives protecting their communities; people who left families behind that will mourn their loss.
Yet it’s also worth remembering that it wasn’t just law enforcement killed in 2022. A lot of other people were murdered, many of them good, decent, innocent people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
That’s not to take anything away from police deaths. As I’ve noted before, my father was a police officer. I grew up around law enforcement and still respect the profession as a whole.
I’m just pointing out we have a lot of work to do and it’s not all about the anti-police rhetoric spouted by some.