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04-22-08, 07:36 AM #1
Drop in LEO deaths attributed to better tactics and training
A new emphasis on defensive tactics and weapons training is contributing to a dramatic reduction in police officer fatalities across the country after one of the deadliest years in two decades, law enforcement officials say.
Fatal police shootings have been cut in half, to 11, compared with this time last year. Police deaths overall have declined 39%, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks the statistic.
The decline represents a stark reversal from 2007, when fatal shootings were up 26%, and 68 officers were shot and killed — including six multiple murders.
As fatal police shootings spiked last year, a number of law enforcement officials, including Miami Police Chief John Timoney, said violent criminals appeared to be targeting police.
Memorial fund Chairman Craig Floyd said the drop in fatalities is so substantial that he believes the early pattern could hold through the rest of the year. Traffic fatalities involving officers also have dropped 30% to 19 so far this year.
Floyd said it is difficult to attribute the abrupt declines to one policy or tactical change.
Yet, he said, police departments and unions focused so much on last year's upsurge that he believes officers are taking more care in how they respond even to routine calls.
"Clearly there is a heightened awareness among officers, trainers, union leaders and chiefs," Floyd said. "All of them are talking about this and what happened in 2007."
Ed Nowicki, executive director of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, said many of the group's 4,000 members urge such defensive tactics as:
• Broader use of mandatory handcuffing, even at traffic stops.
• More analysis of video from dashboard cameras in patrol cars to critique officers' behavior with suspects who may pose risks.
• Renewed emphasis on the use of body armor. The memorial fund reports 27% of officers killed last year were not wearing protective vests.
Last year, 20% of all homicides in Miami were committed with assault weapons, compared with 4% in 2004, the memorial fund reports.
In response, Timoney began providing similar high-powered weapons to officers who wanted them and agreed to extra training. So far, he has armed 40 to 50 officers, and "more (guns) are gonna be ordered."
The chief said it is "too soon" to know if 2007 was an aberration, although he said criminals have become more aggressive and display "no fear of police."
Charles Miller, who coordinates FBI research into law enforcement deaths, said complacency may pose the biggest threat. From 1986 to 2006, each officer killed had spent nine to 11 years on the job. Miller said that suggests veterans may be too comfortable.
In Odessa, Texas, where a gunman barricaded in his home killed three officers last year, the loss weighs heavily on the department.
Detective Harvey Enriquez will travel to Washington, D.C., next month to honor officers killed last year, including his former colleagues. "Every day, we remind each other to be careful," Enriquez said. "We remind each other that something like this can happen, because it did happen."
By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
Updated 2h 5m ago
04-22-08, 10:04 AM #2
Interesting article. I'm in agreement with what is said. Although I'm inclined to believe that in some seriously violent areas officers are just leaving the proactive work alone. Between life taking chances, liberal policies, public perception, and politics it is ever increasingly difficult to do this job. Thanks for the info. Whatever the reason, a marked decline in police deaths and injuries are a good thing.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
04-23-08, 11:57 PM #3
hm...I guess I don't see a significant decline at all in LEO deaths.
Using odmp.org I took a look at the last few years
2008 to date ( 04-23-08)
14 officers have been murdered, with 31 total officers having given their lives.
187 officers killed in the line of duty
80 were murdered in some way (gunfire, stabbings, vehicle assault, etc)
At this time last year, 26 officers had been murdered. That number has gone down thus far for 2008.
152 Officers killed (35 more officers died in 2007 than 2006!)
72 were murdered (not a sharp significant difference between 2007)
162 officers killed
70 were murdered
163 officers killed
76 were murdered
We're on pace to lose 131 officers this year. I'd say that's still too many.No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13
"The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".
We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.
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