According to a new report released today, law enforcement deaths have risen to the highest levels in three years with a 56% increase in the number of police officers killed by gunfire in 2014. “This year, 126 federal, state and local officers have died in the line of duty, according to data compiled and released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That’s up from 102 last year. Fifty were shot, compared with 32 in 2013.”
Tensions between the public and the police are strained following the high profile shooting of Michael Brown, the choking death of Eric Garner, and the subsequent murder of two police officers in Brooklyn. The grand jury refused to indict the police officers involved in the former situations and the latter occurred under the guise of a revenge act against the police for the deaths of civilians during police encounters
“I’m deeply concerned that a growing anti-government sentiment in America is influencing weak-minded individuals to launch violent assaults against the men and women working to enforce our laws and keep our nation safe,” Craig Floyd, the memorial fund’s chairman, said in a telephone interview. “Enough is enough. We need to tone down the rhetoric and rally in support of law enforcement and against lawlessness.”
Not all the deaths involved gunfire: 49 of the 126 deaths involved traffic accidents.
The last time law enforcement deaths hit this kind of high in recent history was in 2011, when police deaths were at 171. After implementing certain policies, the death toll fell to 123 in 2012 and to 102 in 2013. The highest measured level of police deaths in a single year was in 1930, with 300 law enforcement deaths.
Some of the more high profile deaths of law enforcement officers this year include two Las Vegas policemen who were shot to death by a husband wife team. Most recently was the death of two police officers in Brooklyn who were shot “execution style” by a man who left social media messages that he was retaliating for police killings of black men.