This is National Police Week, when Americans thank our local, state, and federal law enforcement professionals for risking their lives to keep us safe.
And Monday was Peace Officers Memorial Day — a time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The observance of the week and day began 54 years ago with a proclamation from President Kennedy.
Whereas it is fitting and proper that we express our gratitude for the dedicated service and courageous deeds of law enforcement officers and for the contributions they have made to the security and well-being of all our people.
We’re not neutral on the subject. Family members are part of the Thin Blue Line. We’re grateful to them and the thousands of brave and dedicated men and women who serve and protect the rest of us.
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Preliminary statistics released Monday by the FBI show that 66 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2016.
That’s an increase of 61 percent compared with the 41 officers killed in 2015.
By region, 30 officers died as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, 17 officers in the West, 13 officers in the Midwest, four in the Northeast, and two in Puerto Rico.
At the time the 66 law enforcement officers were fatally wounded:
- 17 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation)
- 13 were answering disturbance calls (seven were domestic disturbance calls)
- nine were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances
- six were engaged in tactical situations
- five were performing investigative activities
- four were conducting traffic pursuits/stops
- three were investigating drug-related matters
- three were victims of unprovoked attacks
- one was answering a robbery in progress call
- one was answering a burglary in progress call, and
- four were attempting other arrests.
Offenders used firearms in 62 of the 66 felonious deaths. These included 37 incidents with handguns, 24 incidents with rifles, and one incident with a shotgun.
Four victim officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons.
Of the 66 officers killed, 50 were confirmed to be wearing body armor at the times of the incidents.
Fourteen of the 66 slain officers fired their service weapons, and 10 officers attempted to fire their weapons.
Three victim officers had their weapons stolen; one officer was killed with his own weapon.
The 66 victim officers died from injuries sustained in 56 separate incidents. Fifty-four of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.