There were 118 deaths in the line of duty in 2016, the highest number since 2008. Those deaths included 21 instances where officers were targeted via ambush, murdered solely because of the uniform they were wearing.
The numbers on law enforcement assaults is equally disturbing. Over 57,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted in 2016, or nearly 164 a day. Of those assaults, nearly 16,000 resulted in an officer or deputy being injured.
When the rise in the numbers of law enforcement officers being killed and assaulted began in 2013 the significance was downplayed. For example, after the killings of officers sharply increased from 2013 to 2014, NPR wrote a story quoting an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina claiming it was "nonsense" to believe those statistics showed any great danger for law enforcement officers. When the number of officers killed and assaulted rose in 2015 from 2014, the same "expert" was again quoted by NPR and this time downplayed the increase by claiming the numbers were small. "It looks like a huge increase - and it is a huge increase, but it's a huge percentage increase involving very small numbers," said Mr. Stoughton.
We are certain that 2016 numbers documenting the continual increase in violent assaults on law enforcement will be dismissed by some as being statistically insignificant. No doubt there will be the claim that law enforcement is not more unsafe, with other years being singled out as having higher numbers of deaths or assaults on law enforcement. However, 57,000 law enforcement officers and the many grieving family members of those killed in the line of duty know this is a grim trend that must be addressed and ended.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is the collective bargaining agent representing more than 7,900 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. Like our Facebook page