“Do you think police officers need better protection and are conditions getting more dangerous for cops?”
That was a question posed to me yesterday by CJOB producer Tristan Field-Jones.
“If you’re able to join Charles Adler tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. to discuss this please let me know,” he continued.
It’s an important question.
There can be no doubt front line policing has never been a more dangerous proposition in the history of Law Enforcement.
I wondered if the statistics supported my perception.
I often frequent the Officer Down Memorial Page websites when I conduct research regarding line of duty police officer deaths.
The US Officer Down Memorial Page provides the following stats:
- 121 line of duty deaths
- 47 deaths resulted from gunfire
- 10 deaths resulted from vehicular assaults
- 2 deaths resulted from assaults
- other deaths were caused by vehicle pursuits, traffic accidents, fire, heart attacks, accidental gunfire, duty related illness et al
- 110 line of duty deaths
- 30 deaths resulted from gunfire
- 5 deaths resulted from vehicular assaults
- 2 deaths resulted from stabbings
- other deaths were caused by vehicle pursuits, traffic accidents, fire, heart attacks, 9-11 related illness, accidental gunfire, boating accident, aircraft accident et al
The Canadian Officer Down Memorial Page provides the following stats:
- 5 line of duty deaths
- 3 deaths resulted from gunfire
- 1 death resulted from an automobile accident
- 1 death resulted from a heart attack
- 6 line of duty deaths
- 1 death resulted from gunfire
- 1 death was caused by a vehicular assault
- 2 deaths resulted from automobile accidents
- 1 officer drowned
- 1 officer died in a training accident
When it comes to the dangers facing front line law enforcement only so much can be gleaned from statistics. Statistics often fluctuate and can be interpreted to support contradictory opinions.
What statistics can’t do is provide an understanding of the new threats evolving on the global scale and particularly in North America.
These threats can be placed in three (3) distinct categories:
- increasing anti-law enforcement sentiment
- increasing non-compliance
- threats posed by terrorist organizations
Anti-Law Enforcement Sentiment
Events in Ferguson and NYC sparked a new social movement targeting law enforcement and law enforcement officers who were demonized as racist murderers and enemies of social justice.
The demonstrations and sensational reporting of these events provided inspiration for the ambush attacks of uniform police officers in NYC and members of the Canadian military north of the border.
Few people seem to have the ability to see through the false narratives that provided significant inspiration for these protests and attacks.
I find it troubling when the masses make a conscious decision to ignore the primary factor that contributed to the deaths of their martyrs.
In a word, non-compliance.
The Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have two critically common threads. Both men were suspected of involvement in criminal acts and both men were non-compliant with police officers.
It was non-compliance that ultimately led to their unfortunate deaths.
The #handsupdontshoot scenario was largely disproved by witness and forensic evidence yet people choose to ignore that reality.
News anchors and professional athletes still chose to put their hands in the air and buy the t-shirts.
Even more troubling is the fact large segments of society seem to accept, endorse, excuse or dismiss non-compliance as a factor in these cases.
Outspoken activist Reverend Jarrett Maupin recently led a protest in Phoenix, AZ demanding an officer’s badge and gun after an unarmed man was shot by police.
To his credit, Maupin accepted a challenge to take part in three (3) use of force scenarios designed to test his perception and understanding of these dynamic encounters.
The results were remarkable and had a significant impact on Maupin’s perspective regarding the challenges faced by the men and women of law enforcement.
Maupin’s biggest takeaway, “I didn’t understand how important compliance was, but after going through this, yeah my attitude has changed. This is all unfolding in ten to fifteen seconds, people need to comply with the orders of law enforcement officers for their own sake,” he said after the exercises.
As a general rule, police officers do not kill compliant people.
Threats Posed by Terrorist Organizations
I don’t recall a time in the history of law enforcement that terrorist groups have tried to inspire radicals to specifically target uniformed members of law enforcement.
In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, police officers all over Europe have been instructed to delete their social media profiles and remain armed off duty.
Police officers in North America would be wise to follow suit.
Events in Ottawa and Quebec told us everything we need to know.
The Final Analysis
Recent world events have sounded the alarm for the law enforcement community.
Now, more than ever, police officers must be hyper-vigilant when it comes to matters of personal safety. The need to constantly scan the environment for threats has never been more crucial.
The days of the friendly beat cop sitting in a local coffee shop having a relaxing cup of java may soon become a thing of the past.
That’s because the world has become a very scary place.
A Timeline – Global Violence Trending:
October 20, 2014
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent (53) run down by a motor vehicle in Montreal, Quebec by a radicalized suspect who was subsequently shot and killed by police.
October 22, 2014
Corporal Nathan Cirillo (24) gunned down by a radicalized suspect while he stood guard over a National War Monument in Ottawa, Ontario. The suspect was shot and killed by security.
October 23, 2014
Four (4) New York City police officers attacked on a crowded sidewalk in Queens by a radicalized suspect who was subsequently shot and killed.
One officer was struck in the head and seriously wounded while another officer was injured in the arm. A female bystander was struck by a stray bullet when police shot the attacker.
December 27, 2014
NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu (32) and Rafael Ramos (40) shot and killed in an ambush attack by a suspect allegedly motivated by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
The suspect subsequently committed suicide.
January 7, 2015 – Paris Terror Attack
Three (3) police officers were killed during the recent terror attacks in Paris, France.
Officers Ahmed Merabet (42), Franck Brinsolaro (49) and Clarissa Jean-Phillipe (27) were killed in the line of duty by the terrorists who were subsequently shot and killed by Police.
Clarissa Jean-Phillipe was a rookie officer who had just completed her police training.