Guest Blogger: Chief Kent Barker, Tualatin (OR) Police Department; IACP Vice President At Large; and Chair of the IACP SafeShield Committee
This week is National Police Week, a time to remember the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty. The FBI has released their 2014 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty, providing statistical information on the incidents behind the deaths of these courageous men and women.
The statistics show that 51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed and an additional 44 also lost their lives in 2014.The most troubling statistic is that the 51 felonious deaths represents an increase of almost 89% when compared to the 27 officers feloniously killed in 2013. More than half of these officers lost their lives from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls (11), conducting traffic enforcement (10), and in ambushes (8). Also disturbing, is the fact that offenders used firearms in 46 (90%) of the 51 felonious deaths. Of the 44 non-felonious deaths, 28 were killed in car crashes.
The IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness is actively addressing the recurring topics that led to these tragedies. The IACP continues to work with the SafeShield Committee and other stakeholders to encourage a cultural shift within law enforcement by emphasizing the values of safety, health, and wellness. Through cooperative agreements with federal, private, and nonprofit partners, the IACP is dedicated to enhancing officer safety and to seeing all of these numbers reduced in future reports.
To honor our fallen officers, we are making every effort to reduce line of duty deaths through leadership, implementation of good policies, and an emphasis on officer safety and wellness. We want to ensure that all officers have the necessary tools and resources to be Ready for Duty by wearing our vest, being physically and mentally ready, and being aware of our surroundings and the possible challenges we may face.