According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, in the first half of 2014 officer fatalities increased 31% over the same time period in 2013. The only thing we can do is train for the unexpected, and prepare ourselves for that one day that may never happen.
Technology has not been without its understated dangers, particularly for millennial-generation officers. These men and women who are currently entering the law enforcement workforce are finding that advancements in the tech arena come with a price, often saddling them with distractions to their situational awareness and officer safety.
Officers who underestimate a suspect's resolve to evade capture or overestimate their own limitations or those of the patrol car only enhance the dangers of vehicle pursuits. It's not just the lead unit in a pursuit that is imperiled. Upon hearing of a pursuit in progress, other officers may attempt to catch up and join the chase.
The rash of police murders and assaults this year is small compared to the body count inflicted on cops during the late 1960s and early 1970s. That era's law enforcement blood bath led to the adoption of better police tactics, more comprehensive police training, and the adoption of ballistic armor as standard police equipment.
A cursory glance at the numbers seemingly underscores such concerns. Thirty-one officers were feloniously shot and killed from January through mid-May 2011—a 34 percent increase over the same period a year before.
Cops are cursed by a tragic mix of impatience, skewed priorities, and self-preservation instincts that sometimes fail to rise to those of a drunken frat boy. As a result, traffic collisions have for decades been one of the top two causes of officer fatalities.
Most assaults on cops are borne of desperate bids to evade justice. But what of those who go so far as to engage and assault cops on their home turf? What makes these time bombs tick? Revenge, for one.
When called to suicide scenes, emergency personnel don't always know what they're up against. With some 90 percent of chemical suicides posting warnings on the windows of the cars and rooms in which they kill themselves, one would hope that officers and firefighters would think twice before opening doors and breaching windows.
Caught between diminishing tax revenues and citizen demand for greater police protection, law enforcement leveraged the challenge onto the backs of its patrol personnel. By splitting two-officer units into separate cars, police agencies were able to effectively double the area of patrol coverage.
While it would be precipitous to say that the job is becoming more dangerous for women officers, it is not unreasonable to ask if more can be done to ensure their safety.
Winter poses unique dangers for the patrol officer. Dealing with these threats is a matter of weather-proofing yourself both mentally and physically.
Attics, basements, closets, and crawlspaces all present great hazards to officers searching for concealed suspects.
Pulling over a motorist can result in a simple citation or a raging gun battle. You have to be prepared for either one.
Often engineered with little more than rudimentary know-how, real world booby traps may lack the sophisticated engineering of those in the "Saw" films, yet prove every bit as lethal.
Ambush murders are perhaps the cruelest and most inexplicable of law enforcement deaths. Often, they are not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself, an event consciously orchestrated with no purpose other than the killing of an officer.