Unfortunately, we are losing more officers this year than we have in a long time.
The officer survival movement that started in the late 70’s, coupled with improvements in bullet resistant body armor, led to yearly declines in the numbers of police officers killed in the line of duty. In 2007, however, this trend has reversed and we have seen the numbers of officers killed rising significantly.
One disturbing trend I have been following is the number of incidents in which more than one officer is killed on the same call. A lot of officers were shocked when they read about the Odessa Police Department earlier this month. Odessa PD lost three of their officers on a single domestic violence call. A woman reported she had been hit by her husband. When they tried to enter the residence to arrest him, he opened fire, killing all three officers.
But losing multiple officers on the same call is not a monopoly held by the Odessa PD.
- The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department lost two of their finest on April 1st when they responded to a disturbance call.
- The Henderson County (TX) Sheriff’s Department had two of their deputies shot and killed on a domestic violence call in May.
- On August 10, two detectives with the Bastrop (LA) Police Department were gunned down when they were investigating a suspicious vehicle at a local hotel.
- In a March shooting, two officers with the Moncks (SC) Corner Police Department were shot and killed at a domestic violence call.
These are five incidents in which multiple police officers were killed on the same call. And this doesn’t include the many incidents where multiple officers are wounded. For example, on September 13, four Miami-Dade Police Department officers were shot, with one officer being killed.
The bottom line is don’t become complacent. There is strength in numbers, but only when we use the tactics we have been taught. Officer survival goes out the window when we ignore the basic training of officer safety. Use contact and cover correctly! Do not be afraid to use force! Never stop fighting!
Please note: The officers killed in the above examples are true heroes, and it is not my intention to degrade their sacrifice. Their valor should never be forgotten. However, in my opinion, the best way to honor their sacrifice is to learn from their tragedy, and limit the number of times we have to put that damned black band on our badges.