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Police shot in line of duty hits record high, stats show

Police car lights. (Dreamstime/TNS)
December 08, 2020

The number of law enforcement officers shot in the line of duty reached an all-time high this year, according to new statistics shared by the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).

At least 283 police officers have sustained injuries from gunfire while in the line of duty so far this year, the order stated in an Instagram post last week. Of those officers who were shot, 44 died as a result of their gunshot wounds.

According to the FOP, the total number of officers shot increased by seven percent from the historic numbers in 2019, and jumped by 29 percent since 2018.

“Attacks on law enforcement officers continue at a disturbing pace,” the post stated. “Violence against our officers MUST be condemned by all…Enough Is Enough.”

Similarly, the Officer Down Memorial Page listed 43 deaths due to gunfire in 2020, in addition to four deaths due to inadvertent gunfire. ODM lists 277 officers that have died since January 1.

Police officers have suffered injuries unrelated to gunfire in staggering numbers this year, as well. Over 2,000 police officers sustained injuries in the line of duty during the first weeks of demonstrations that began May 26 over the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department one day prior.

The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a professional organization of police leaders in the largest cities throughout the United States and Canada, released a report in October detailing the civil unrest that spread through MCCA members cities from May 25 to July 31, leading to 2,037 injured officers.

Of the 8,700 demonstrations, 574 were declared riots that included violence and other criminal activity. Ninety-four percent of major city police agencies dealt with a least one protest that included unlawful but non-violent acts, like disrupting a public roadway. For 79 percent of agencies, at least one demonstration involved violence, and about 72 percent reported officers harmed during protests.

The demonstrations also included 2,385 looting incidents, 624 arson incidents, and 97 police cars burned. The most common types of weapons used by demonstrators during violent attacks were rocks, bricks, frozen water bottles, fireworks, and wooden, metal, or plastic bats.

“One agency reported dumpsters, trash cans, trees, furniture and vehicles being set on fire,” the report stated. “In many cities, city hall, as well as other iconic public buildings and federal courthouses were targets of arson.”

Throughout the 10 weeks listed in the report, over 16,200 people were arrested for crimes related to the demonstrations, but more than half of the police agencies said local attorneys declined to prosecute the cases.

The report stated that, “In some instances, prosecutors refused to charge those arrested for felony crimes committed during the protests despite the availability of video evidence and suspect confessions.”

“The sheer volume of protests, combined with the level of civil disobedience and existence of some ultra-violent events, created an extraordinarily challenging environment for law enforcement agencies,” the report noted.