There have been eight police officers killed by gunfire in just the past month, 24 total killed since the beginning of the year, counting yesterday’s shooting death of Lieutenant Charles Joseph “Joe” Gliniewicz of the Fox Lake Police Department in Illinois.
Last week, two Louisiana officers were killed by gunfire in separate incidents, and two officers in Mississippi were shot to death during a traffic stop in May. Police all across the nation are understandably on edge.
Amidst this unsettling atmosphere, someone in the Houston area thought it would be a good idea to stencil some graffiti of a police officer with a gun to his head.
ABC News 13 reports that they’ve seen the anti-cop graffiti in at least four spots in the Washington Ave. area, and have gotten reports of more than that.
As you might imagine, those in uniform say it’s incredibly disturbing to see this just days after a deputy was killed while pumping gas.
HPD Union President Ray Hunt said, “I can’t believe that there are people out there so heartless and so ruthless to put something on there before this deputy is even buried. It does nothing to help to help morale in the police department and does nothing to help the Goforth family.”
The police union has ordered 10,000 bracelets printed with the words ‘Pray for police.’ Officials are hoping to distribute the bracelets to the community next week.
ThePoliceNews, a website for police in Texas, reports that although “dozens of police officers are slain on duty in any given year, active and retired police officers across the country said the recent bloodshed feels different.”
As the nation has been roiled by strong currents of distrust and fear of police that surfaced after last year’s killing of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson, Mo., an ugly byproduct of the turmoil has been a newfound willingness to do harm to those in uniform, many police officers say.
“Day to day, you’re a little more aware of your surroundings, you’re a little more skeptical of people,” said Rick Perine, a 17-year veteran of the Mesa, Ariz., Police Department.
Perine said he has found himself being “hyper-vigilant” since the killings in December of two New York City police officers, who were ambushed in their patrol car. Their killer had boasted on social media that he planned to kill cops in retaliation for the deaths of Brown and Eric Garner, who died during an arrest by officers in Staten Island, N.Y. Garner’s and Brown’s deaths — coming three weeks apart in 2014 — became part of a growing public outrage toward law enforcement.
“These days, if I don’t know you, I’m going to be extra guarded around you,” Perine said. “It is a different world.”
Authorities scoured a northern Illinois county after night fell in the search for three people wanted in the fatal shooting of a police officer.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli says helicopters will fly overnight and about 100 officers will search in and around Fox Lake for the suspects in Tuesday morning’s shooting of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.
Authorities say the 52-year-old Gliniewicz radioed in to tell dispatchers he was chasing three men on foot in the village of Fox Lake, 55 miles north of Chicago. Covell says communication with him was lost soon after.
Authorities say the 30-year veteran was married with four children.