Though right-wing commentators continue to decry the ‘war on cops,’ the latest data released by the country’s top law enforcement undermines that alarmist narrative.
According to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report, released this week, there were fewer police deaths in 2017 than in 2016. In 2016, 118 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty while in 2017, that number was 93.
More telling is the type of death the officers suffered. Last year, 46 officers were killed “feloniously” on the job while 47 died in accidents. As the FBI’s press release noted, “Both numbers have decreased from 2016, during which 66 officers were feloniously killed and 52 were accidentally killed, for a total of 118 line-of-duty deaths.”
The data is collected from “local, state, tribal, campus, and federal law enforcement agencies from around the country, as well as organizations that track officer deaths.”
A closer look at the statistics reveals further just how nonexistent the war on cops actually is. Of the 46 officers feloniously killed on the job, five were ambushed (defined as “entrapment/premeditation” by the FBI) and 3 were victims of unprovoked attacks. Twenty-one died during “investigative or enforcement activities,” which include traffic stops, investigating suspicious persons, or tactical situations.
In other words, they were killed doing the jobs they signed up to do (consider the popular refrain that ‘cops risk their lives’ — that’s part of the job description), though police officer does not even crack the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States.
The takeaway here is that while some officers die on the job – and that is unfortunate – the deliberate sentiment to kill officers simply because they are police officers is not on the rise.
Thirty-five officers died in car accidents — more than four times the number killed by ambushes and unprovoked attacks (eight) — and according to the FBI, “of the 29 officers killed in automobile accidents, 12 were wearing seatbelts, and 15 were not,” though two of the officers not wearing seatbelts were sitting in parked cars. Regardless, more officers died in car accidents while not wearing seatbelts (a violation of the laws they enforce, as it happens) than died as a result of flagrant attacks on their lives isolated from situational circumstances.
Further, the total number of officers killed by accident far dwarfs the number killed in ambushes or unprovoked attacks, and the total is still greater than all law enforcement deaths recorded in the annual report.
Further still, the number of cops killed feloniously was higher in 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 than it was last year, suggesting the rate of cop murders is subject to fluctuation and not consistently on the rise.
In another relevant detail, zero federal law enforcement agents were killed in 2017. In 2016, one was killed.
Despite the ongoing claims that police are under assault (as they continue to assault the public) — and despite congressional action to designate killing police officers a hate crime — for yet another year, this war on cops notion is proving to be nothing more than a myth.
We already know that on-the-job deaths of cops, regardless of cause, is dwarfed by occupations such as farmers and roofers. The probability of a cop dying on the job is less that 50% that of many “laborers”.
The distraction is from the civilian population that is wantonly killed by cops – killers that are licensed by local governments. Cops are a unionized force of thugs that are protected by unfair binding arbitration agreements. The police do not “protect and serve”; they are loyal only to their union. If you do not know that, examine any situation that involves an individual cop versus the local government that hired him. In a cop-civilian situation cops institute lethal force from the get-go without any regard to determining whether an individual represents a lethal threat. Whereas a law abiding firearms carrying citizen cannot draw and fire his weapon short of his life being physically terminated, a cop can say, “I feared for my life” (regardless of what the threat constituted) and kill whomever putatively caused the “fear”.
Cops “lawyer up” immediately and are not required to file statements that describe a cop-civilian conflict whereas civilians in a similar conflict are jailed, have their constitutional rights denied and are coerced to provide self incriminating information – without right to counsel.
Cops don’t care if you are an R or D when they are kicking in your head or seizing some cash that you may have in your car
Being held at gunpoint is pretty typical believe it or not. Happened twice to me. Riding bike home down sidewalk from work. Cop stops me, cars spotlight right on my face. has me put hands in the air at gunpoint. Doesn’t ask my name, just proceeds to put his hands in all my pockets then tells me I look like someone they’re looking for, and that I can go. All he wanted to do was scare me and check if I had anything illegal. I bet he was begging for me to drop my hands or flinch so he could justify shooting me. Bullies.