Since mid-2020, police officers have had an increasingly difficult time carrying out their duties. Many metro areas called for defunding of the police. Other areas curtailed officer response to 911 calls. Officers are living the profession in droves. Now, statistics relate one major reason for this mass exodus: police officers are being assaulted on a regular basis, and in 2021, attacks on officers have dramatically increased.
Between January and September of this year, fifty-nine law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty; specifically, fatal attacks on officers have risen by 51 percent when compared with the same time period in 2020, according to FBI statistics.
The current FBI director Christopher Wray spoke out on the dramatic increase on police fatalities: “That (number) basically translates to every five days – more often than every five days in this country – an officer is murdered in the line of duty. And that’s totally unacceptable, and it’s a tragedy and it needs attention.”
In 2020, FBI statistics report that across the United States as a whole, 60,105 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties. As of the end of November 2021, more than 50,000 officers have been assaulted while on duty. In 2020, of the 60,105 officers that experienced some type of assault, 3,000 were the victims of a firearm used as an assault weapon.
A special agent for the FBI from Dallas, Matthew DeSarno, stated that the statistics are a sobering reminder of the dangerous work that law enforcement officials do each day.
Just recently, a security guard for the KRON news crew, Kevin Nishita, was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery. Nishita was working with a NewsNation crew who were covering a story regarding the recent rash of “smash-and-grab” robberies in the San Francisco area.
Fifty-eight officers in the New York Police Department have been killed in the line of duty as of November 30. This is up from a total of forty-seven in 2020.
Major cities are not the only areas where officers are being seriously injured or murdered while on duty. Reports of officers being killed in the line of duty come from across the United States.
Security guard Kevin Nishita leaves behind a wife as well as two children and three grandchildren. He is a former police officer, and he was employed with the Star Protection Agency at the time of his death.
The rash of police assaults have led the National Police Association to call for help from the public. The NPA released a public service announcement across social media platforms and on television. The organization is asking for the public to help if they see an officer being assaulted.
The PSA notes that many – if not a majority – of these attacks are being filmed by civilians then uploaded to social media platforms. The announcement comes after a viral video surfaced in which an officer inside a Target store was thrown to the ground then choked while an bystander caught the incident on film.
The video shows shoppers watching the officer and his assailant struggle, while others filmed the incident with their phones. The PSA asks civilians to ask themselves what they can do to assist an officer in trouble rather than filming the incident in order to pursue internet attention.
Opponents of the PSA state that the idea of becoming involved in such an incident is daunting and highly dangerous for the average civilian. However, the National Police Association rebutted this idea, stating that onlookers can call 911 if they do not feel comfortable physically intervening.
The NPA offers the following recommendations for assisting an officer under assault:
- call 911 and provide the dispatch with the officer’s exact location
- ask the officer how you can assist, if the onlooker is able to speak to the officer
- film IF the officer declines in an effort to be a good witness
The NPA and other law enforcement officers simply want to see the astounding amount of assaults reduced, and, if the public is able to assist, they ask that people do so.