“One Oregon police chief was killed when a man allegedly took the officer’s gun and shot him in the head. A policeman in Arizona was fatally shot when he went to a suburban Phoenix apartment complex to help a probation officer. And two South Dakota officers were killed in a shootout after a traffic stop.” Wait. Stop. What’s wrong with this lede from our friends at The Washington Times, chronicling a jump in law enforcement officers’ on-the-job fatality stats? Let’s have a look at the raw cop death data at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund via the link that the Times and the mainstream media somehow forgot to provide . . .
According to the org’s stats, 68 out of 173 total police deaths in 2011 involved firearms. That’s less than half of the total, and only slightly more than the number officers killed in traffic-related accidents. And while gun murders are up 15 percent–15 PERCENT!—the percentage of the total fatalities attributed to firearms has remained stable at roughly 60 percent.
While we’re taking a gander at these numbers, click here for a chart of the police deaths over the last ten years (which doesn’t include 2011 data). If you add-up the number of police officers killed in auto, motorcycle, bicycle and boating accidents (including struck by vehicle fatalities) the total easily outpaces shootings (709 vs. 572).
Interestingly, last year the number of cops killed in the line of duty rose 37 percent. So this year’s 13 percent rise is less than half of last year’s. As cold as this might sound, the total number of officers killed in the line of duty is statistically insignificant. According to wikianswers.com:
There are as of 2006, 683,396 full time state, city, university and college, metropolitan and non-metropolitan county, and other law enforcement officers in the United States. There are approx. 120,000 full time law enforcement personnel working for the federal government adding up to a total number of 800,000 law enforcement personnel in the U.S.
One hundred seventy-three officers killed out of [a conservatively estimated) 800k? While every human life is precious, you can round that down to zero. Or you can get all hysterical about the percentage increase to convince taxpayers that it’s OK to waste tens of billions of dollars on over-paid unionized cops working in over-staffed departments armed to the hilt with unnecessary weaponry and gadgets.
To wit this via politico.com:
The number of officers killed in the line of duty jumped 13 percent in 2011 compared with the year before — and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the increase as “a devastating and unacceptable trend” that he blamed on illegal firearms . . .
Holder said “too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” in explaining the increase.
We need cops. Cops need us. It’s sad when cops get killed by bad guys—or their own driving. But no matter how hard the po-po and their proxies try to manipulate our emotions for their own ends, the simple truth is that policing is a generally safe occupation. And while illegal guns are sometimes the instrument of police fatalities, they are not its cause.