Police officers are increasingly becoming targets in the line of duty, getting ambushed and slain, which is a troubling trend that is spreading across the U.S.
Just last week, three Philadelphia police officers were shot in the line of duty. So far, 2022 has been an extremely violent and dangerous year for law enforcement around the country.
“I’m outraged. I’m disgusted,” said Danielle Outlaw, Philadelphia’s police commissioner. “I’m wondering where the level of outrage and upset is outside of the law enforcement community.”
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police, there have been 252 cops shot in the line of duty in the United States as of September of this year. 50 of the 252 were killed.
“Right now, things are wrong because the level of violence that we’re seeing against our law enforcement officers is just beyond outrageous,” Outlaw said.
According to the FOP, the violent tendency is on the rise.
In the same time period last year, 44 cops were killed in the line of duty by gunshot. This adds up to cops being killed more than once a week throughout that time span.
Two cops were slain last summer while responding to a stabbing call in El Monte, California, a Los Angeles suburb.
“They were acting as a first line of defense for our community members when they were essentially ambushed,” El Monte Mayor Jessica Ancona said.
Three cops were reportedly attacked and shot last week in Bristol, Connecticut. Only one person survived. According to investigators, the gunman may have enticed them by placing a phony 911 call.
Data from the FBI indicated that in 2021, there were the most law enforcement personnel purposefully killed in the line of duty since the September 11, 2001 terrorist strikes 20 years previously.
The data reflects a recent increase in gun violence in many regions of the country, which is currently at levels not seen since the mid-1990s.
A responding officer in Raleigh, North Carolina, was hurt last week in a shooting involving a young shooter that left five people dead.
The rising level of violence against police has law enforcement authorities around the country concerned.
When Outlaw discovers that police under her control have been shot, she feels “a hole in your gut.”
“These are folks that answered a call to serve,” she said. “They want to give back.”
She said that cops who join up for the posts are aware of the possible danger to their life, but it has recently become too much.
“We did not sign up for these jobs to be martyrs,” she said. “We just didn’t.”
Law enforcement authorities are concerned not only about their own personnel, but also about how the current wave of violence may affect recruiting, which they say might have a long-term impact on public safety.
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