2022 proved to be another very deadly year for America’s law enforcement officers (LEOs) as they were murdered at a rate of more than one per week.
The yearly total ended up being 61 LEOs feloniously murdered in the line of duty, with 58 intentionally shot and 3 killed by perpetrators using their motor vehicle as a deadly weapon. 34 (56%) were murdered while handling 911 calls, 23 (38%) during domestic disturbances, and 26 (43%) in incidents involving motor vehicles.
Among the first murders of the year were two NYPD Officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, ambushed on January 21st while handling one such 911 call of a domestic disturbance. In a theme seen throughout the year, these officers were shot by a mentally ill convicted felon.
Besides posting violent anti-police rhetoric on social media, the murderer had prior arrests for unlawful possession of a weapon, assaulting a police officer and he was out on probation for a 2003 felony narcotics conviction.
As criminals routinely do, their killer flouted some of the most stringent gun laws in the nation and committed his heinous crime with an illegally possessed stolen Glock 45 handgun and 40 round magazine.
The two NYPD officers were among the 35 (57%) of LEOs who were ambushed and never had a chance to defend themselves. In 28% of the incidents, 17 LEOs were murdered by perpetrators who accessed a hidden weapon and shot them before they could react.
The speed at which these life-or-death situations happened demonstrates why officers insist on people showing their hands and why they shoot people making furtive movements into their waistband, bags, or glove compartments.
Not surprisingly the most common characteristic linking 55 (90%) of the LEOs murdered was a nexus of perpetrators who were wanted criminals or actively committing a crime. Two El Monte Police Department Officers were murdered by one such career criminal that stabbed his wife while out on probation.
Upon responding to a 911 call of domestic violence on June 14th, Corporal Michael Parades and Police Officer Joseph Santana were ambushed by the convicted felon. Killing himself soon after, this felon was described by his wife as emotionally disturbed and he too used an illegally possessed handgun.
With regular news stories of emotionally disturbed people attacking unsuspecting strangers in cities across the country it is not surprising they were also involved in a significant number of attacks on police.
Notably, 24 (39%) of the LEOs murderers were described as having some kind of mental illness, with 12 (24%) of them displaying suicidal tendencies or ideation. While society wrestles over how to best care for the mentally ill, innocent civilians and brave police officers are needlessly being killed by them.
Another group society is wrestling over is convicted criminals, including illegal aliens, as activist prosecutors and lenient judges continue prematurely releasing them upon the public. Reflecting the failure of America’s rule of law, 38% of the cop-killers in 2022 should have still been in jail or deported.
Therefore, it was practically a fait accompli that the year’s last murder of a LEO involved a career criminal when on December 29th, Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Isaiah Cordero was ambushed and fatally shot during a traffic stop.
His killer had a long history of violence dating back to the 1990s that included kidnapping, robbery, and assaults with deadly weapons. Having received his third strike in 2021, Deputy Cordero’s killer should have been locked up and serving 25 years to life.
Acknowledging this tragic fact, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said, “We would not be here today if the judge had done her job.” Months earlier, Officer Santana’s mother voiced a similar refrain, stating “I blame the death of my son and his partner on [Los Angeles District Attorney George] Gascón,” they were “murdered by a criminal that should have been in jail.”
The law enforcement profession is a dangerous one and those sworn to serve and protect our communities accept the risks involved. What is not acceptable is that 23 of the LEOs murdered in 2022 were preventable if not for the social justice reforms prioritizing the rights of violent criminals over those of law-abiding citizens.
Reforms that victimized thousands more civilian families whose loved ones too were murdered by assailants who should have been incarcerated, institutionalized, or deported.
How many more American families must suffer before the people hold responsible those who have unleashed the predators that cannot peacefully coexist in our civil society?
Mike Simonelli is a retired US Army officer with 30 years of military service who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan; an active police officer in New York for 23 years; the Suffolk County PBA Sgt-at-Arms and holds a master’s degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. His book in policing can be found at www.jdfinformation.com.