A new report by the Justice Department shines a light on the shocking rise in police fatalities in 2016.
Released Monday, a statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions says that the report – the FBI’s 2016 Law Enforcement Officers Killed an Assaulted Report – says the number show a shocking increase of 61 percent over 2015.
“Every law enforcement officer goes to work knowing that today might be his or her last,” Sessions said in the statement. “But last year, we saw a staggering 61 percent increase in the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty because of a felony, and on average, more than 150 officers were assaulted in the line of duty every single day. These numbers are as shocking as they are unacceptable.”
According to FBI statistics, 118 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016, a 37 percent increase from 2015 when 86 officers were killed.
Additionally, in 2016 there were 66 law enforcement officers killed in line-of-duty incidents as a result of felonious acts – this is a staggering 61 percent increase from 2015, when 41 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents.
Violence against police is up across the board. In 2016, 57,180 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults – this is a 14 percent rise from the 50,212 officers who were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2015.
“Every law enforcement officer goes to work knowing that today might be his or her last,” sessions said. “But last year, we saw a staggering 61 percent increase in the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty because of a felony, and on average, more than 150 officers were assaulted in the line of duty every single day. These numbers are as shocking as they are unacceptable.
“Our law enforcement deserves the support of the people they serve. Fortunately, we have a President who understands this. President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order President.
“In one of his first Executive Orders to this Department, President Trump directed us to prevent violence against law enforcement officers. He stands with our law enforcement 100 percent—and so does this Department of Justice. That’s one more reason why we’re focused on the President’s goal of reducing violent crime and united with local, state, and federal law enforcement in our shared mission to protect law-abiding people in every community.”
Of the 66 police officers killed in 2016, 62 were shot and four were killed with a vehicle. Breaking down the firearm by type, 37 were killed with a handgun, 24 with a rifle, and one with a shotgun.
Broken down by circumstance, 17 officers were killed in ambush situations, 13 died as a result of domestic disturbance calls, 9 were investigating suspicious persons, 6 in tactical situations, 5 who were on surveillance, four who were in traffic chases, and three were unprovoked attacks.
Of the 59 offenders, 32 were white, 15 were black and one was American Indian. 14 of the offenders were currently on parole or probation and 14 were either high or drunk at the time of the attack. 45 had prior criminal records.
That means most of the officers killed were known, violent offenders.