Ambush Attacks on Officers Are on the Rise

Ambush attacks of police officers, like the one that resulted in three Texas officers being killed last month, are occurring at an alarming rate. I wish we could report that the tragedy in Texas was an isolated act of madness directed against our police officers, but it wasn’t. Throughout history, there have been more than 1,300 cases of law enforcement officers being killed without warning in unprovoked or ambush attacks. In the Texas incident, a man allegedly lured law enforcement officers to a trailer park south of San Antonio with a 911 call and then opened fire when officers arrived. Two Atascosa County deputies were killed, along with a Texas state trooper. Two other officers were wounded and The gunman committed suicide. According to records kept by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, there have been a total of 211 officers killed in similar unprovoked attacks in the ten year period from 1989 to 1998. This is an average of 21 each year. Some were carried out by deranged individuals, others were acts of revenge. Many times the assailant simply wanted to kill a cop. The statistics show that police officers have become the targets of cold-blooded criminal vengeance with increasing frequency in recent years. The number of unprovoked attacks on our officers is double today what it was during the blood-filled gangster era of the 1930s, when there was an annual average of 11 police deaths resulting from unprovoked, ambush-type attacks. Our records also reveal that there have been roughly 200 incidents in which two or more law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. The deadliest single incident in the history of law enforcement occurred on November 24, 1917, when nine officers were killed in a bomb blast at a Milwaukee (WI) police station. Multiple death incidents have taken the lives of 26 officers in Texas. In fact, two earlier shooting incidents in Texas each resulted in four officers being killed. One occurred in 1873, when four state police officers were shot trying to make an arrest in Lampasas, Texas. The other occurred on February 28, 1993, when four federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were killed while conducting a raid on a religious cult compound in Waco, Texas. Craig Floyd is chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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