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60,000+ cops attacked in 2020, nearly 20,000 injured, says FBI

Chicago police investigate a shooting on the 9200 block of South Eggleston Avenue in Chicago on Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
October 22, 2021

In 2020, over 60,000 law enforcement officers were attacked in the line of duty and more than 40 were killed, according to FBI data released Monday.  

Based on information compiled from 9,895 law enforcement agencies, the FBI determined a total of 60,105 officers were assaulted while working in 2020, increasing from 56,034 in 2019.

Of those assaulted, 18,568, or 31 percent, were injured. At least 46 officers were killed, which is slightly fewer than 48 the year before, FBI data showed.

“Police officers across the country are facing an increase in violent crime and violent acts committed against them,” said Laura Cooper, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, according to ABC News. “Facing these dangerous situations is another reason why it has been difficult for police agencies to find recruits who want to put on a uniform and put their lives on the line.”

The president of the National Sheriffs Association, Vernon Stanforth, said the shocking statistics didn’t come as a surprise “after this troubling year for law enforcement.”

Between January and September 2021, 54 police officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty, which is a 45.9 percent increase when compared to the 37 officers who were killed over the same period the year before.

Jason Johnson, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) President, said the increase in assaults on police is happening when law enforcement is “seemingly under attack on all fronts.”  

The number of officers quitting or retiring has also skyrocketed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. When compared to the same period a year earlier, a LELDF study found overall voluntary police departures between June 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021 increased by 18 percent. Overall voluntary resignations also increased by 24 percent and overall voluntary retirements increased by 14 percent.

“In the wake of the anti-police movement and Floyd protests, cops – unwanted and unappreciated by their political leaders – officers are running for the exits. Resignations and retirements at the largest police agencies in the United States are skyrocketing while recruitment is tanking,” Johnson said.

The study showed that the riots and overall “Defund the Police” movement were key factors in the mass resignations.

“I wouldn’t take [a job as a police chief],” said former NYPD Commissioner and current LAPD Chief Bill Bratton. “The ability to succeed in this climate … the progressive district attorneys’ policies just aren’t going to work.”

Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said he calls the situation “a crisis because it is a crisis.” In addition to a 63 percent increase in resignations, Austin also saw a 96 percent increase in murders. The city currently has 300 sworn officer vacancies, according to the study.