Today, news of United States police officers killing unarmed victims seems to be never ending. Sometimes, however, it is important to remember that police officers are also regularly at risk of physical harm or even death. This job is often cited as one of the most dangerous, depending upon the city and state. Being a police officer is stressful, physically demanding, and mentally strenuous. Officers must be aware of their surroundings at all times and able to identify legitimate threats to their safety. They constantly risk being killed while in the line of duty. As previously mentioned, this risk is higher in some places than in others. Below is a look at what have been of the most dangerous states for police officers so far in 2016.
Police Officers Killed in The Line of Duty
In 2016, the three states with the highest numbers of police officers killed while on duty have been Texas, California, and Louisiana. Two of these states, Texas and California, are historically recognized as some of the most dangerous states to work as a police officer. From January of 2016 until November of 2016, 18 police officers have been killed in Texas, 11 in California, and 9 in Louisiana.
One of the most well-known incidences of recent police officer killings in Texas occurred on July 7th, 2016. On this day, protesters gathered all over the country in outrage over the recent police-related deaths of two, unarmed black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. In Dallas, people were peacefully protesting along Main Street when a shooter opened fire on the crowd and the police. He reportedly claimed that he had a desire to kill white police officers in retaliation against the police-caused deaths of so many unarmed black men. He killed 5 police officers and injured 9 others as well as 2 civilians. This attack is considered the deadliest moment for US police officers since the September 11th terrorist attacks.
In October of 2016, three police officers responded to a call regarding a domestic violence situation in the city of Palm Springs. The suspect, who was accused of causing the domestic disturbance, refused to open the door for the police. Without notice, he began shooting an AR-15 rifle. According to some reports, the suspect was wearing soft body armor and using armor piercing ammunition, suggesting the event was planned. Two of the officers were killed and the other injured. This was the first law enforcement death for this city since 1962.
Only 10 days after the Dallas, Texas attack on police, a similar event occurred in the neighboring state of Louisiana in the city of Baton Rouge. On July 17, only 2 weeks after city-wide protests over police-related killings, the shooter arrived at a shopping complex. He was openly carrying a rifle, an act which is legal in Louisiana. However law enforcement officials were called out to investigate his intent. As soon as the first responders arrived, the shooter killed 3 officers and injured 3 others. He was only targeting law enforcement officials. He had previously released videos of himself, claiming to be affiliated with “the spirit of justice”.
2016: A Deadly Year for U.S. Law Enforcement Officials
Between January and July of 2016, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty was 44% more than what had occurred between January and July of 2015. Of the 2016 police deaths caused by firearms, the number is approximately 72% higher than in 2015. Many people believe this violence has been instigated by the increasing cases of unarmed, black men being killed by police. Additionally, crime in general has been increasing across the country. Increased levels of crime has a direct correlation to the number of law enforcement agents killed in the line of duty.