There were more police officers killed in the line of duty last year than in any year since 2011. Many believe that this statistic is related to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. Earlier this month, the FBI declared that “black identity extremists” are a violent threat to officers.
But the data released by the FBI on Monday shed quite a different light on the issue. White people are actually much more of a threat to the police. Sixty-six officers were killed in 2016, but out of 59 suspects, only 15 were black.
This led Jeff O’Dell, police chief in Kissimmee Florida to say, ”Whether it’s ‘whatever lives matter,’ all lives actually matter. Officers aren’t expendable. I hope we can find a way to mend these divisive issues, which stem from false narratives about officers being more aggressive based on race.” Chief O’Dell lost two officers to shootings this past year.
Some experts indicate that more police are being killed because of the increase in the number of guns on the streets and heightening distrust of officers.
“These numbers are as shocking as they are unacceptable,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “Our law enforcement deserves the support of the people they serve.”
There is more to this story than those who were killed. In 2016, more than 57,000 officers were assaulted while on duty, that is about 157 officers per day.
Chief O’dell believes that the answer is in building better community relationships. ”There is no chance of influencing someone’s behavior without building a relationship,” he said. “The violence keeps getting worse in the world, but having a side and not being open to listening is not the way to cure this problem. We have to listen.”
Are you surprised at these numbers? We look forward to seeing your comments.