The ambush shooting that killed a New York City police officer in the Bronx marked the latest in a growing number of officer deaths in 2017, up 18 percent from this time last year, reported Fox News. This is frightful since record numbers were established last year.
A total of 67 officers have died so far this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. It found there were 57 officer deaths between January 1 and July 5, 2016. Yet alarmingly, gun-related deaths have risen by 9 percent, from 22 to 24 for 2017, the researchers say.
The figures suggest a grim trend; 2016 was the deadliest year for police in 5 years. A total of 135 officers died last year.
New York Police Department Officer Miosotis Familia was “assassinated” during an “unprovoked attack,” according to NYPD commissioner James O’Neill.
Familia, 48, was shot and killed as she was seated in a mobile command vehicle near a Fordham Heights intersection in the Bronx. It is an area that has been plagued with gang violence for years. A lone male approached the vehicle and fired one shot through the passenger side window striking Familia in the head in an unprovoked assassination style attack.
Randy Sutton, national spokesman for Blue Lives Matter and a retired Las Vegas police lieutenant, said that Familia’s killing is a symptom of the growing violence against law enforcement. Moreover, ambush and execution murders should be as troubling to the general public as they are to law enforcement.
“People now are more willing to engage the police in combat,” Sutton told Fox News. “Last year approximately 50,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted, that ran the gamut from pushing them to shooting them and causing disabling injuries.”
“Part of the war on cops [is] the failure of police leadership to step up to the place and not acquiesce to political considerations when it comes to the safety of police officers,” Sutton said. “The other part of the war on cops is the failure of the media to post anything positive about police. All they do is put up damaging stories and spin much of that into a narrative that is false and perpetuates a distorted narrative.”
Chief William McManus, of San Antonio Police Department, issued a stinging comment. “I’m angry at the police haters, I’m sick of the police haters,” he said. “We protect them. We defend them. And they give us a big F.U. And I’m sick of it,” he said last week after one of his officers, Miguel Moreno, was essentially killed in an ambush murder.
Familia is the seventh New York Police Officer to die this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Its founder, Chris Cosgriff, said: “When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation.”
Both the ODMP and NLEOMF track officer deaths and report on trends and increase or decrease in types of officer fatalities over the years.
“It’s really hard to put a finger on any specific cause,” ODMP Research Director Steve Weiss told Fox News. Weiss said the numbers fluctuate, and “go up and down year to year.”
However, “In 1997 at this time, 33 officers had been killed,” Weiss said. “There’s been a steady decrease over the years and I imagine a lot of that has to do with better technology, better training.”
Weiss added, “The goal is to get deaths per year under 100.”
The ODMP also offers resources to help prevent officer fatalities. Weiss described the “No Parole for Cop Killers” program which notifies people when a cop killer is up for parole, their partnership with the Armor of God project, which “provides bullet resistant vests to members of all organizations who are not able to receive them” and a partnership that creates officer awareness posters, and reminds officers to wear their seatbelts and bulletproof vests.
Also killed on July 4 this year was Police Officer Robert Johnson, of the Northville Police Department in New York. Johnson was struck by a vehicle and killed while driving home after he had gotten off duty. He noticed a crash between a deer and a vehicle and retrieved his service weapon and approached the scene. While walking down the shoulder to dispatch the deer he was struck by a second vehicle.
Johnson is one of hundreds of officers listed on the ODMP site. Weiss said, “The organization was started as a way to memorialize officers and raise public awareness of the number of officers that were killed each year.”
He added, “People don’t understand the sacrifices officers make. There are not too many professions where people are murdered while doing their job and this is one profession where people are killed somewhat routinely in performing their job.”
Memorializing the fallen officers “gives family members a place to come to remember their loved ones,” Weiss said.
Law Enforcement Today also writes an In Memoriam for each officer that suffers a line of duty death. While the news fades into history, cops want to remember those lost in street combat as well as other deaths that are job related. But especially sorrowful are those murdered in ambush killings.
(Photo courtesy Juan Beltran)