The FBI reported this morning that 95 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2012, while 52,901 were assaulted while on the job.That's 95 too many, and while some of those were killed in accidents, a substantial portion of those were not.
“Of the 48 officers feloniously killed, 12 were killed in arrest situations, eight were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, eight were conducting traffic pursuits/stops, six were ambushed, five were involved in tactical situations, and four were answering disturbance calls. Three of the slain officers were handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners; one was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while handling a person with a mental illness,” the FBI said. “Offenders used firearms to kill 44 of the 48 victim officers. Of these 44 officers, 32 were slain with handguns, seven with rifles, and three with shotguns. The type of firearm used was not reported in the deaths of two officers. Two officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons, one with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.), and one with a knife.”It's appalling to look at the numbers, and it's even more appalling when you carry a brother to his final resting place. We deplore the deaths, yet we look on them as a natural hazard of the job. I could expound at length about the hazards of the job, but many of them are the same hazards that Americans face every day. As I am nearing the autumn of my career, I have an assignment that's pretty quiet, fairly sedentary, and provides plenty of time for assessment. People tell me every day, "Man, I'd love to have your job."
Depending on my attitude at the time, and the person I'm talking to, I might reply that it takes 30 years behind the badge to get a job like this. Or, I might just say, "Yeah, it's a great job, right up until the instant when it isn't. Then, it becomes a terrible job, real quick."
Rest in Peace, brothers. You've passed the watch and can rest quietly. The rest of us will be here watching. Keep the coffee hot. We'll get there eventually.