So far in 2011, 14 law enforcement officers have been killed, a trend that extends from 2010, which was one of the deadliest years on record, according to statistics released by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund on Monday.
The uptick in attacks on officers prompted a police union spokesman to say field officers are concerned about a "war on cops."
Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, told MSNBC, "It's not a fluke. There's a perception among officers in the field that there's a war on cops going on."
On Monday, three officers were shot — two fatally wounded, and one injured — while serving an aggravated battery warrant at a home in St. Petersburg, Fla. On Sunday, four officers were shot at a Detroit Police precinct; two Kitsap County (Wash.) Sheriff's deputies were shot at a Walmart while responding to a call reporting a suspicious person; and police officers in Indianapolis and Lincoln City, Ore., were critically injured in shootings during traffic stops.
As of Jan. 24, officer fatalities have been recorded in eight states, including multiple deaths in Florida (5), Texas (2), and Ohio (2). Florida and Texas were among the top five states leading officer deaths in 2010 (along with California, Illinois, and Georgia).
"The devastating spike in law enforcement officer fatalities in 2010 has tragically continued in the first month of 2011," according to Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. "I have never seen anything like it. The violent events of the past 24 hours in Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Oregon and Washington have been detrimental to America's peace officers, taking the lives of two and injuring several others. We must do everything in our power to stop these senseless and heinous crimes against our law enforcement personnel."
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund's preliminary "2010 End of Year Officer Fatality Report," officer fatalities reached 162, a nearly 40 percent increase from the 117 in 2009. Of the 162 officers killed in the line of duty, 61 were shot — a 24 percent increase from 2009. Tragically, the trend continued with 14 officer deaths in January, 10 of which resulted from shootings accounting for a 40 percent increase compared to the same period in 2010.
"As recent events show us, there is a more brazen criminal prowling the streets of America and our law enforcement officers responsible for protecting our communities are uniformed targets for these criminals," according to Floyd.
The following nine officers are the most recent gunfire-related fatalities:
- Clark County (Ohio) Sheriff's Deputy Suzanne Hopper was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call at a mobile home park on New Year's Day.
- Rainier (Ore.) Police Chief Ralph Painter was killed by a fatal gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 5, while responding to a call reporting a car theft at a strip mall.
- Baltimore City (Md.) Police Officer William H. Torbit, Jr. was fatally shot during an altercation outside a night club on Jan. 9.
- Lakewood (N.J.) Patrolman Christopher Matlosz was shot and killed as he approached a suspect while patrolling a residential area on Jan. 14.
- Livonia (Mich.) Officer Larry Nehasil was fatally wounded by a burglary suspect during a shootout on Jan. 17.
- Miami-Dade (Fla.) Officers Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth were fatally shot as they attempted to serve a murder warrant at a Miami, Florida home on Jan. 20.
- St. Petersburg (Fla.) Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz were gunned down and killed while attempting to serve a warrant on Jan. 24. A U.S. Marshal was also wounded but is in stable condition.
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