There is nothing more chilling and terrifying than to think someone wants to ambush and kill you. That happened to police officers 15 times last year and resulted in their deaths. It is a sad statistic.
Thankfully, it is not a common occurrence in our country.
But if we are serious about reducing the number of police officers who are killed on duty, then we need to look at two disturbing figures:
- More than one-third of police officers who were killed were NOT wearing body armor.
- One-half of officers killed in traffic accidents were NOT wearing seat belts.
According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013 (the last year of completed data). Of these, 27 died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents.
Of course, any number greater than zero is unacceptable. But we all must realize that accidents do happen even to police officers.
But if we are serious about significantly reducing the number of police officers killed on duty then we must require their leaders to mandate the wearing of body armor and the use of vehicular seat belts.
Those two administrative actions would great reduce the number of police officers killed in the line of duty.
I must also mention the necessity to provide police officers with realistic training in the use of force and for police departments to develop policies that protect both police and citizens in these circumstances.
We could reduce those numbers even further if we, as a nation, did a better job of identifying, preventing and treating those among us who are mentally ill. Add to that, better control and regulation of firearms and we may very well reduce those numbers even further.