Data: Police shootings are extremely rare, and most involve dangerous people in mental health crisis



Data suggests that many police shootings involve people in mental health distress.  Per separate data, most offenders are under the influence at the time of arrest. Most offenders have a history of mental health issues.

Research indicates that less than three percent of police interactions involve force “or” the threat of force. Per polls, most believe that cops act appropriately.

Collectively, it indicates that the vast majority of police officers are using enormous restraint.


The article below indicates that 42 percent of police shootings involve people in mental health crises.

I believe this is an undercount. If one looks at the data below, most offenders have mental health issues and most are under the influence of drugs or alcohol during arrests.

It’s all in the definition of mental health. There are a ton of people not formally diagnosed who cannot handle confrontations without verbal or physical aggression, especially if coupled with substance abuse.

This becomes the heart and soul of interactions with law enforcement that go bad. As a cop, I was amazed that the simplest of interactions had a way of getting complicated very quickly. From family disputes to traffic stops to investigating crimes, many people became instantly combative regardless of my demeanor.

I often had to suggest that their vocal abuse was a sign that they could be guilty of a crime and their actions might lead to their arrest just to get them to reassess how they were interacting with me. It worked in the majority of cases.

We blame cops for shootings or use of force when it’s the offenders in the vast majority of cases who are acting irrationally and in many cases, dangerously. Anyone interacting with an obviously distressed person would be on high alert as to defensive actions.

I had a person blocking a small public dirt road from their neighbor because of a dispute.  The person doing the blocking acted emotionally; he wasn’t moving his vehicle. It was obvious that he was under the influence. It was obvious that he wasn’t rationally accessing the situation. Calls were backing up and the aggrieved party wanted him arrested.

So I went to his nearby house and got his wife who talked her husband out of the situation. She said that he drinks too much and that he “could” be abusive to others. When pressed further, she stated that he had emotional problems. He kept a baseball bat in his car. In the presence of his wife, he promised not to block his neighbor again.

Thus I avoided a difficult arrest that could (probably would) had led to some form of physical interaction with a drunk emotionally disturbed man. I suggested to his wife that he needed counseling before he got into real trouble. Yes, I asked her if she was being abused.

I came from that situation understanding that the event and many other interactions could easily get out of hand and might eventually lead to violence or, God forbid, a shooting.

But Use of Force Is Rare-Two to Three Percent Involve Force “Or” Threat Of Force

An estimated 40 million U.S. residents age 16 or older, or about 17 percent of the population, had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in one year. Among people who had face-to-face contacts, about nine out of 10 residents felt the police were respectful or acted properly, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Having said this, it’s inevitable that out of 40-60 million yearly encounters, some will go bad. It’s a statistical reality.

Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics study, police used or threatened to use force in less than two percent of contacts.

Police Citizen Contacts

Some media commentators suggest that police use of force is growing/common/frequent during stops. Less than 3% of U.S. residents experienced a threat “or” use of force during their most recent police-initiated contact, Law Enforcement Public Opinion.

Law Enforcement-One Of The Most Respected Institutions

Study after study, poll after poll state that the vast majority of Americans give police very high marks. While there are differences based on race or income or age or political affiliation, the vast majority of Americans, regardless of demographics,  rate cops highly and want law enforcement in their communities, Police Public Opinion.

42 Percent Of Utah Police Shootings Involve People In Mental Health Crisis

first-of-its-kind data analysis of Utah law enforcement records, news reports, and family interviews surrounding 226 police shootings that occurred between 2010 and 2020 has found that at least 95 people (42 percent) were suffering a mental health crisis, had a mental disability or expressed a desire to end their own lives, reports PBS.

More than half of the 95 encounters ended with the subject dying, most often by police gunfire. Of the 95 people in crisis, 79 percent of them were suicidal.

While the number of shootings during the period examined fluctuated from year to year, going as low as 16 percent some years and as high as 60 percent others, there wasn’t a year when police didn’t shoot at someone in crisis.

Additional Data On Mental Health And Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse: States routinely provide an estimate that 80 percent of their prisoners have either substance abuse problems or major addictions.

Under The Influence At Arrest: Anywhere from 56 percent (Charlotte) to 82 percent (Chicago) of arrestees tested positive for the presence of some substance at the time of an arrest. In 9 out of the 10 sites, 60 percent or more of arrestees tested positive per the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM II-since discontinued), National Institute Of Justice.

Mental Health Histories: Per Bureau of Justice Statistics research, more than half of all prison and jail inmates had mental health problems. These estimates represented 56% of state prisoners, 45% of federal prisoners, and 64% of jail inmates, Mental Health And Crime.

Add substance abuse and histories of violence (most state inmates are violent per the Bureau of Justice Statistics) and data stating that most offenders come from very troubled backgrounds and we begin to understand the dangers and difficulties of making stops and arrests.

“I know there’s a saying that ‘Hurt people, hurt people,’” Winfield said. “But where I come from, hurt people kill people, CBS News Covering Baltimore. Cops deal with a lot of “hurt people” daily.

Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics, many prisoners have severe medical issues which complicate interactions after release.

It’s also common for weapons and firearms to be present during police interactions.


After tens of millions of police interactions, the vast majority of the public rate officers highly stating that they acted appropriately. Use “or” the threat of violence occurs in less than three percent of police interactions.

Considering the data above, this seems almost impossible and indicates that the vast majority of cops go above and beyond to do the right thing.

Yes, I understand that data on inmates and mental health don’t represent all police contacts, but it does account for many and it may involve most for serious interactions (i.e., warrants, crimes in progress, calls from citizens).

But however you slice and dice the data, it’s possible-likely that most police shootings and use of force incidents involve people with mental health or emotional issues coupled with being under the influence at the time of arrests.

The collective data indicate that the vast majority of police officers are using enormous restraint.

Re-Fund the Police”: Law Enforcement Today launches nationwide campaign for Americans to back the blue

Originally published October 10, 2021

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – You back the Blue.  You support the police.  You quietly buy an officer a cup of coffee at your local coffeehouse.  You bring homemade cookies to your local police station.  You make it a point to thank an officer when you see one out in public.

You watch the news, aghast to see crowds of anti-police protesters and rioters committing acts of violence and massive property damage.  You pray daily for the Blue family.

And yet, you may feel quite alone.

Politicians and the mainstream news media would have you think that police support is at an all-time low.

Some of you may have found it necessary to take down your Thin Blue Line flags from your house, or to scrape off the Thin Blue Line sticker from your vehicles, due to the potential for violent retaliation by those who hate the police.

Yes, it is the loudest voices that are the ugliest.  They revile and attack those who back the Blue.  They call, “Defund the Police!” at every turn, fueled by the lie that police officers are racists who are out to kill.

But you are actually in excellent company in your support of the blue family.

According to a Gallup poll, 85% of Americans support law enforcement.  That means supporters of the Thin Blue Line are 285 million strong.

Data: Police shootings are extremely rare, and most involve dangerous people in mental health crisis
85% of Americans support Law Enforcement

That would be 285 million who, like you, refuse join in the calls to defund the police.

And that means you are in the company of those who have logic and reason on their side.

After all, we at Law Enforcement Today bring you stories daily of exploding crime in police-defunded areas such as Austin, Portland,  New York City, or Los Angeles.

Homicide rates since defunding are up 58% in Atlanta, up 533% in Portland, and up 37% in Philadelphia.

Shootings in post-defunded New York City are up 64%, and they are up 51% in Los Angeles and up 18% in Chicago.

In addition, you have also followed our disturbing and often tragic stories of attacks on police officers in the era of police defunding.

Felonious attacks on police are on the rise, as documented by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Data Collection.

According to LEOKA:

“The 50 law enforcement officers feloniously killed in the first 8 months of 2021 represent a 51.5 percent increase compared to the 33 officers killed during the same period in 2020.”

Data: Police shootings are extremely rare, and most involve dangerous people in mental health crisis
370 officers gave their lives in the line of duty in 2020

Also thanks to defunding, police departments across the country now lack training, resources, and equipment.  Ironically, calls for additional training in cultural awareness, de-escalation, and use of force often have to go unheeded due to the lack of financial resources.

Another irony is that the push to do away with less-lethal options such as Tasers and tear gas will simply lead to more fatal police shootings.

These alarming stories and statistics indicate beyond a doubt that defunding the police is absolutely the wrong move for this great country.  You know this, yet you and 285 million other voices are all too often silenced by social pressures as well as physical threats of violence.

You are even told, “Silence is violence,” when it comes to refusing to stand against law enforcement.

Your voice matters, and you need to be heard.

As Law Enforcement Today National Spokesman Kyle Reyes points out:

“Americans have stood by in disbelief as this ‘defund the police’ movement has spread across America and ravaged our communities. 

“We’ve watched our cities burn, our officers be attacked and violence skyrocket. 

“It’s time to come out of the twilight zone.  It’s time to fight back.”

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

LET Unity

Law Enforcement Today, the nation’s largest police-owned media outlet, has developed a way to make your voice heard and oppose those who would seek to remove funding from those who protect and serve.

It’s called the “Re-Fund the Police” campaign.

Reyes explains:

“We wanted to make the “Re-fund the Police” campaign something that everyone- whether you can spare $1 or $1 million – can be a part of.

“People will donate to politicians all day long in hopes that person will get elected and possibly make a difference.

“We are asking for people to come forward and support those who make a difference and save lives every single day.”

Through your generous donations, Law Enforcement today will direct a media and advertising blitz to rally other Americans who, like you, are done with attacks on law enforcement, both physical and financial.

Here’s what the funds go towards:

  1. We’ve assembled a “strike team” of researchers and reporters who will delve deeply into the devastating impact that defunding the police has on communities and families.  They’re going after not just the “leaders” in Congress who are pushing to defund the police… but they’re exposing everyone from the local politicians and city councils who are behind it.  They’re also tracing the money of exactly who is funding this “defund the police” movement.
  2.  We will focus on publicizing all the negative effects of defunding police while expressing support for our brothers and sisters in blue.  The advertising blitz will be a show of support for police officers all across America.

In addition, we will be sending a team of reporters into our communities to share positive stories of law enforcement, stories which are consistently ignored by the mainstream media.

As a thank-you for your generosity in standing strong for the blue family, we are offering access codes for Law Enforcement Today’s Wounded Officer documentary and Border Crisis documentary.  In addition, we offer additional perks such as stickers and Thin Blue Line face masks or yard signs.

Donors are also able to honor or memorialize a member of the blue family.

For those who cannot afford to contribute, we invite you to be a part of a nationwide chain of prayer warriors.

You can join our prayer chain along with other supporters who are willing to pray for our brothers and sisters in blue.

Data: Police shootings are extremely rare, and most involve dangerous people in mental health crisis
We support those who protect and serve.

Also, when you sign up for our newsletter, we will keep you informed on how we are continuing to back the Blue, and bring you the stories the mainstream media will not touch.

Now to small businesses who are sick and tired of watching our cities burn as the “defund the police” movement spreads.

For business donors, we are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to make a difference in police departments across the country.

Reyes explains:

“We wanted to make sure small businesses could get in the fight, so we are rolling out the ‘adopt a police department’ program.”

Your business donation will be used to cover stories in the community of your choice, and expose those who are attempting to defund the police.  Those stories, if you choose, will also include a thank you to your business and a link back to your business website.

In addition, your generous business donation will go toward advertising campaigns that highlight the negative effects of demonizing and defunding the police.

Data: Police shootings are extremely rare, and most involve dangerous people in mental health crisis
We’ve got your 6.

This will give you the opportunity to show to millions of Americans that, unlike “woke” anti-police organizations, you support and appreciate law enforcement.

Reyes points out:

“Corporate America rallied around the Black Lives Matter movement, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to a campaign that brought widespread looting and destruction in our cities. 

“This is an opportunity for businesses to show America that law and order and keeping people safe still means something to them.”

Please join your voice with Law Enforcement Today in this campaign to support all those who protect and serve us.

We invite you to visit the Re-Fund the Police website for further information.

If you have questions, or you want to start your own fundraising team, feel free to email us at [email protected]

It’s time to get in the fight.


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