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Dec 2011
Policing in a dangerous time
LAPPL Board of Directors

Anyone hoping we would see a downturn in assaults on police officers – in Los Angeles and nationwide – has to be deeply disappointed by statistics released last week by LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

Chief Beck reported to the Police Commission that assaults on LAPD officers are up 26.7 percent this year compared with 2010. He noted that as assaults on police officers increase, so do the number of officer-involved shootings – up 58.8 percent this year.

The Chief’s reports were concurrent with other somber news. Police officer deaths in the line of duty have increased 14 percent across the U.S. compared to last year, according to a preliminary report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Firearms-related deaths were the number one cause of officer fatalities nationwide, a change from previous years. “For the first time in 14 years, firearms-related deaths will outnumber traffic and ‘other’-related deaths,” said Craig Floyd, chairman and CEO of the fund, in a recent CNN article.

With a total of 10 fatalities, California was fourth in line of the states with the highest number of fatalities, just behind New York, Florida and Texas (data as of December 13, 2011). The 14 percent increase can be attributed to factors including budget cuts and a surge of violence toward police officers, according to Floyd. “We’re hearing about more brazen, violent activity today, more cold-blooded murders,” Floyd told CNN.

This increased violence toward officers is a solemn reminder of the dangers that police officers face on a daily basis. We again lament the stark disconnect between falling crime rates and assaults on police officers. There’s no compelling, clear evidence why this is occurring. All we can say with certainty is that despite declining crime statistics, policing remains a very dangerous profession.

To our law enforcement brothers and sisters, as the end of 2011 draws near, may you never forget the fellow officers that gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for the protection of others, and may you always look out for the safety of your colleagues as you protect and serve your communities.

Thoughts? Leave a comment below.



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