From January 1, 2016, until Wednesday, December 28, 135 police officers died in the line of duty. Nearly half of them were shot to death.
ABC News reports: “That’s a 56 percent increase in shooting deaths over the previous year. Of the 64 who were fatally shot, 21 were killed in ambush attacks often fueled by anger over police use of force involving minorities.”
“We’ve never seen a year in my memory when we’ve had an increase of this magnitude in officer shooting deaths,” said Craig Floyd, president and chief executive of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “These officers were killed simply because of the uniform they wear and the job they do. This is unacceptable to the humane society that we are.”
Five law enforcement officers were killed on a single day in Dallas, when an anti-cop sniper attacked the police at a Black Lives Matter rally. The rising death toll and increased animosity toward police have driven many out of the force and kept hopefuls away from joining the force.
Interim Dallas Police Association president Frederick Frazier said that morale is “almost nonexistent.”
“A lot of us are going through the motions at work. We’re hoping things will get better with our struggle,” he said. Frazier added that the attack was a “game changer. It changed the perception of law enforcement. It reversed the roll after Ferguson. We were the pursuer and now, we’re being pursued.”
Yet another attack left three officers dead and three wounded, when black separatist Gavin Eugene Long ambushed them outside a convenience store. The shooting followed the police shooting of Alton Sterling.
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Floyd confirmed the difficulties departments are having recruiting police officers. “They’re always looking over their shoulder, always worrying about the next attack that could come at any time from any direction,” Floyd said.