Are More Police Getting Killed? A Look at Officer Deaths – ABC News
The killing of a veteran police officer north of Chicago is the latest in a string of recent law enforcement deaths. Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz’ death on Tuesday triggered a manhunt for three suspects around the small Illinois community where the 52-year-old officer worked. A look at some of the latest slayings and data on other officer killings:
HOW MANY OFFICERS HAVE DIED?
Gliniewicz was the eighth law enforcement officer shot and killed in the U.S. in the last month and the fourth in 10 days, according to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks officers’ deaths so their names can be enshrined on a Washington, D.C., memorial. Steve Groeninger, a spokesman for the group, said four fatal shootings in recent days is a higher rate than usual.
IS THAT AN INCREASE?
No. Shooting deaths of officers are actually down 13 percent compared with the same January-to-September period in 2014. There were 30 shootings last year and 26 this year. Those figures include state and local officers, as well as federal agents. The figures also include two accidental shootings, Groeninger said. Suicides are not included.
Deaths have declined through the decades. The average number of officer shooting deaths for the first six months of each year — which is how the memorial fund gauges trends — was 62 through the 1970s.
The worst half-year period over the past five decades was in 1973, when 84 officers were shot and killed in the first six months alone. Through the early 2000s, the six-month average fell to 29.
More than 20,500 names are inscribed in marble on the memorial in Washington. They include officers killed in attacks and in accidents from 1791 through 2015.
WHERE WERE THE OTHER RECENT KILLINGS?
Darren Goforth was shot and killed Aug. 28 in suburban Houston as the Harris County deputy stopped to put gas in his patrol car. Henry Nelson, an officer in Sunset, Louisiana, was shot and killed Aug. 26 while responding to a domestic-violence call. Louisiana State trooper Steven J. Vincent died Aug. 14 after being shot in the head while assisting a motorist.
DO THE NUMBERS INDICATE ANYTHING?
Groeninger cautioned that it was too soon to say if officer deaths are trending up. “The data doesn’t say that yet,” he said. He also said there is no clearly identifiable pattern in the killings and no conclusions to draw for now, other than “there are people out there who intend to harm police officers for whatever reason.”
HOW MANY OFFICERS HAVE BEEN SPECIFICALLY TARGETED?
During the last 12 months, six officers appear to have been targeted specifically because they worked in law enforcement, according to the memorial fund. That includes the Texas deputy, as well as two New York City officers who were shot and killed in December as they sat in their patrol car.
Elsewhere, an officer for the Housing Authority of New Orleans was fatally shot in his patrol car on May 24. In California, a San Jose Police Department officer was killed March 24 responding to a call that a man was threatening to kill himself. A Pennsylvania State Police officer was shot and killed on Sept. 14, 2014, outside a police barracks by someone wielding a rifle.
WHAT AGENCIES DID THE SLAIN OFFICERS WORK FOR?
City police account for the largest number of officers killed in shootings. Out of the 26 officers killed nationwide so far this year, 17 were on city forces, four were with the county and three with the state. One federal agent and one tribal officer were also killed, according to the memorial fund.