Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, welcomed news that 2017 ended with the second lowest number of law enforcement officer fatalities in more than 50 years. Overall there was a 10% decrease of officers killed in the line of duty, most notably 45 who was shot and killed in 2017 compared to 66 the year before. While this is a welcomed reduction it does not tell the whole story.

“Last year saw the second fewest line of duty deaths in the last 50 years, but our officers are being killed or wounded by gunfire at a higher rate than before,” stated Canterbury. “In 2016, 253 officers were shot in the line of duty and 66 made the ultimate sacrifice. This past year we had 271 officers shot in the line of duty and 45 who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is unacceptable to the men and women of law enforcement.”

The threats law enforcement faces every day by people with hatred and animus toward our police officers was highlighted by the New Years Eve ambush that wounded 4 officers and killed another in Colorado. This is why the Fraternal Order of Police is calling on Congress to make it a Federal offense to deliberately target law enforcement officers with violence.

“Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Enough is enough!” declared Canterbury. “Now Americans who choose to be law enforcement officers, who choose to serve their communities and put their lives on the line for fellow citizens, find themselves hunted and targeted just because of the uniform that they wear. This has to stop.”

In October 2015, the Department of Justice released their “Ambushes of Police” report that detailed the number of ambush attacks on law enforcement officers from 1990-2013. In 2013, there were between 200-300 ambush attacks reported on law enforcement officers. The Executive Summary of the report states, ” … the proportion of fatal attacks on officers attributable to ambushes increasing. Concerns about targeted violence against police are on the rise, while officers must not only be guardians of the public but also be prepared to respond to violence targeting them [sic].”

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.