In 2016 alone, there are 68 police officers and 24 K9 officers who have been shot dead by civilians or other causes of death in their line of duty. This is 3% less than 2015, but the number could go up even further considering that the year is still five months from over.
Besides the shootings, some officers died from car accidents and other causes. This year alone, the number of police officers who have died as a result of an ambush by civilians has been the highest as compared to the other years.
Course Of Action For Shot Police Officers
With the increase in the number of cops being shot, laws are being amended to protect the police and not the people only as it was earlier. In Louisiana, a law called Blue Lives Matter has been passed whereby anyone who is found to intentionally hurt or kill a police officer will be sentenced to five years in prison. It is not only the police officers who are covered by this law but also firefighters and emergency medical officers. This is to combat hate crimes which were previously based on gender, race, color, nationality, religion and disability among others. The law had not been passed until recently since crimes against the police had not been so pronounced. But with the recent killings, something had to be done.
The law has been passed at a time when debates are going on everywhere regarding the police and killing of black people. Many people are criticizing the move claiming that the law should not have been passed when police were killing black people. They continue to say that the law is to protect white police officers and their interests and that the lawmakers do not have the peoples interests at heart. A movement against this law called Black Lives Matter has risen as a result. There are claims that this movement is the one that has led to the increased police killings, though there is no evidence to support that.
Lance Harris, a Republican, state representative and the author of The Louisiana Measure said that it was important to protect the people who protect us so that they will be able to do their jobs without fear. If they feel left out, they will not carry out their duties, hence crime rate will increase in the country. According to the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations William J. Johnson, this is a perfect response to the crimes against the police since they have done great work in reducing crimes.
History Of Police Killings
In the 1970s, there were fewer police officers in the country as compared to now, and the crime rate was very high. The perception of the people is what matters the most. The moment a video or chat goes viral on social media that police officers are killing innocent black people, there is bound to be hatred towards these officers. Many people will want to revenge.
Furthermore, when police killings are broadcasted all over the media, others will be encouraged to do the same. The media’s role is to change perception and in this case, the perception has been changed negatively. In 2014, the year when there were Ferguson Protests, there was increased media attention on the misconducts which the police engage in. This consequently led to the killing of 51 police officers unlike in 2013 where only 21 were killed.
Recent research shows that there have been police killings over the years, the numbers not being too different each year. However, the question now remains about the psychological trauma of the colleagues left. Most of them are shaken to a point that they are likely to fail to deliver their duties. Because of the police and civilian shooting crimes that have been brought to all our attention in the last few years, it is important to know that all lives matter and laws need to be put in place to protect them.