Thin Blue Line Thinning As Threat Level Against Police Officers Rises

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Tony Maples Photography


According to WPXI, threats against law enforcement officers are jumping to higher levels. The thin blue line is getting thinner.

“We need to work together. We need to work in cooperation. We need to work in a trustful fashion so that we can keep our communities safe,” said Craig Floyd, of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In 2015, gunmen ambushed 41 officers, shooting and killing them. That number increased by 56 percent in 2016.

A total of 135 officers died in the line of duty in 2016. This is the highest number of deaths since 2011 when 177 officers perished. Until this year, traffic-related deaths made up the number one cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers.

Of that 135, 64 were gun-related deaths. Twenty-one of those gun-related deaths were the direct result of an ambush. Numbers like that haven’t been seen since the 1970s. Over one-third of those deaths occurred within a ten-day period in July. Five officers in Dallas and three in Baton Rouge died in ambush attacks between July 7th and July 17th.

Fifty-three officers perished in traffic-related incidents. Twenty-eight were the results of car crashes. Fifteen were struck and killed on the side of the road during traffic stops or while aiding stranded motorists. Ten died in motorcycle crashes.

Eleven officers succumbed to job-related illnesses, mainly heart attacks. Three died from beatings. One drowned. One died as a result of stabbing and one perished in an aircraft crash.

Texas suffered the largest number of losses, followed by California, Louisiana, Georgia, and Michigan. November was the deadliest month of 2016 with April having the fewest fatalities.

“Public safety is a partnership and, too often, the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement professionals is taken for granted,” observed NLEOMF President and CEO Craig W. Floyd. 

“We must never forget that 900,000 law enforcement officers nationwide risk their lives every day for our safety and protection. And, this year, 135 of those men and women did not make it home to their families at the end of their shift. As we begin the new year, let us all resolve to respect, honor, and remember those who have served us so well and sacrificed so much in the name of public safety.”