It has been my privilege to address law enforcement agencies through published works in The Chief of Police for 13 years, and audiences nationwide for more than 20 years.
These initiatives have addressed issues, including ethical policing, school violence, workplace violence, domestic violence, public safety and terrorism.
Disturbingly, a new concern has arisen during the last few years, with alarming statistics and horrific headlines documenting an accelerating violence.
This violence must not be relegated to back-page news, as other violence issues have. Violence must cease to becoming commonplace and desensitizing the nation’s conscience.
The violence throughout society, now intensifying against law enforcement, demands a full force action plan uniting law enforcement and communities.
Bergen County Police Chiefs Association (BCPCA) Event
BCPCA MISSION STATEMENT: To secure a closer official and personal relationship among police officials in the County of Bergen; to secure unity of action in police matters; to elevate the standards of police institutions; to strive for advancement among all lines that pertain to the prevention and to the detection of crime and the promotion of police efficiency in general.
On Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, I shared my monthly remarks to 90 members of the BCPCA in Rockleigh, N.J.
During the past 20 years, I have represented the BCPCA as a liaison between police chiefs and communities. This responsibility has addressed issues on leadership, violence prevention, private security and public safety.
This month, I addressed the alarming reality of the escalating violence against law enforcement.
My remarks began by sharing these recent headlines:
- Law enforcement reacts as January sees 24 police officers shot, including 4 killed (ABC News, Jan. 28, 2022)
- 13 Officers Shot in One Day, on February 11, 2022, and 5 Deaths So Far this Month (The U.S. Sun News, Feb. 14, 2022
Additionally, as I spoke to the association, we were in the heart-wrenching shadows of the funerals of two NYPD officers that numerous chiefs in the audience attended.
NYPD officers Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera were both shot and killed in Harlem on Friday, Jan. 21, 2022.
The two officers were killed while responding to a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. The son killed both officers at point-blank range, before being shot dead by another responding officer.
Line Of Duty Death Data
After sharing these headlines, my remarks continued by highlighting Line of Duty death statistics.
According to preliminary data compiled as of December 31, 2021, 458 law enforcement officers died in line of duty in 2021.
This is an increase of 55% from the 295 officers killed the previous year, and is the highest total line-of-duty officer deaths since 1930 when there were 312 fatalities.
America’s front-line law enforcement officers continue to battle the deadly effects of the Covid-19 pandemic nationwide. Preliminary data shows that some 301 officer fatalities have been identified as caused by Covid this year.
Covid-19 related fatalities were the single highest cause of law enforcement deaths in 2021.
The dramatic increase in traffic-related fatalities in 2021 is also cause for concern.
In 2021, 58 officers died due to traffic-related causes, such as
- Single-vehicle crashes
- Vehicle collisions
- Motorcycle crashes and
- “Struck-by” incidents.
These 58 traffic-related fatalities are an increase of 38% compared to the 42 deaths during the same period last year. Tragically, struck-by fatalities have increased by an extraordinary 93% over last year.
In 2021, 84 officers died from felonious assaults including:
- 61 officers who were killed by firearms
- 11 officers killed in struck-by traffic incidents, and
- 3 killed in auto crashes where the subject was either fleeing the police or an intoxicated driver was involved.
- 4 officers were beaten to death,
- 2 died from 9/11-related illnesses, and
- 3 officers were stabbed.
The 61 officers killed feloniously by firearms represent a 36% increase over the 45 officers killed feloniously by firearms in 2020.
The leading circumstance of firearms fatalities were officers killed in ambush-style attacks. A total of 19 officers were killed in ambush attacks in 2021, a significant increase over only 6 such attacks in 2020.
National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) 2022 Statistics
While writing this article, statistics posted by the FOP further highlighted the accelerating trend of violence against police as follows:
- As of Feb. 28, 2022, 67 officers have been shot so far this year, with nine killed by gunfire.
- Twenty-four officers were shot in 13 ambush style attacks.
- The number of officers shot in the line of duty so far in 2022 is +76% from the same time in 2020.
During the BCPCA event, I also distributed two of my articles from The New Jersey Police Chief.
The articles titled “Reawakening American Policing: Officer Safety, Ethical Certifications, Community Trust,” and “True Freedom Honors the Common Good,” from the Summer 2020 edition were on topic. Both spotlighted issues related to transforming America policing, with an emphasis on officer safety.
Protecting our communities is a shared responsibility. The police and the community must be one and inseparable. We must be fully dedicated, without compromise, to protecting one another.
Every law enforcement member who died protecting and serving our communities deserves America’s eternal gratitude, remembrance and honor.
We must also be forever mindful of their families and support them with unwavering compassion, respect, and dignity.
America is the land of the free and home of the brave because of the sacrifices of our law enforcement and armed forces. Let us eternally honor them and forever hold their families, friends, and law enforcement colleagues in our prayers.