Rise in police deaths nationwide reinforces need to support Idaho police officers
| May 26, 2022 1:00 AM
I have read with alarm the reports of high national rates of police officers murdered or ambushed by violent criminals. When communities are soft on crime and focused on defunding the police, we are all less safe. I stand with Idaho’s law enforcement, and will continue supporting their service.
The statistics are dreadful:
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), last year, “73 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed on the job—the highest single-year number since 9/11.”
A record number of those officers killed, nearly half, were ambushed while sitting in their vehicles, attacked while on patrol or lured out into the open and killed, the FBI also reports.
Further, FBI Director Christopher Wray has said, “Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn’t get enough attention. Last year, officers were being killed at a rate of almost one every five days.”
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) wrote, “Last year was one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement, with more officers shot in the line of duty since the FOP began recording this data. There was also a 115% increase in the number of ambush-style attacks.”
Additionally, in February, the FOP highlighted, “As crime rates continue to surge across this nation, the violence directed at law enforcement officers is also skyrocketing, with 55 officers shot so far this year.”
When you consider the rising police murder rates and the high violent crime rates, we have far more than a significant problem that requires immediate attention. In January, the Council on Criminal Justice reported a 44 percent increase in homicides in 2021 in 27 cities the Council studied as compared to 2019. According to the FBI, “There were 65,000 additional violent crime incidents in 2020 than there were in 2019…,” and homicides increased nearly 30 percent in 2020 — “the largest single-year increase recorded in 50 years.” In an April speech, FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate framed the increase in this grim context, “That’s 65,000 more people victimized by violent crime than in the year before. And each one, as we all know, with families, heartbreak, and trauma.”
Idaho law enforcement keep our communities safe. They and their families bear the danger and difficulty of this responsibility. And, the risks they face are heightened by the rise in violent crime in many parts of our country connected to liberal efforts to defund the police and other challenges, such as the deadly impacts of fentanyl and counterfeit pills, cartel drug trafficking, domestic violence and much more.
It is clear Americans benefit from a well-funded and supported law enforcement personnel. I proudly continue to back legislation recognizing the vigilance and compassion of those who serve in law enforcement and strongly support law enforcement officers across Idaho and the U.S. We all need to do our part to recognize the important role police officers have in making our communities safe and show support for police and law enforcement personnel. They need our support perhaps now more than ever.
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Mike Crapo represents Idaho’s First Congressional District in the U.S. Senate. He can be reached at crapo.senate.gov.