Watching cop shows on TV might lead you to think the incidence of police officers dying by gunfire has never been higher. You couldn’t be further from the truth.
In 2013 the number of police and officials at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial level has fallen to where it was in 1887.
“I think the first two things that come to my mind as a police officer,” says Joseph Gamaldi, 2nd VP of the Houston Police Officer’s Union. “The improvement in training over the last few years, we have officers who are taking situations much more carefully due to the improved training that we’ve had. In addition the overall down-trend in crime that we’ve had nationwide has resulted in there fewer deaths as a result of firearms.”
111 men and women behind the badge made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in the line of duty, an 8% decrease and the fewest since 1959.
The number of fatalities caused by firearms fell 33 percent in 2013.
Texas and California have the highest number of police fatalities, 13 and 10 respectively. The Houston Police Department did not lose any officers this year, though there were a couple fatalities in nearby areas.
“It’s always encouraging when you hear those kind of deaths are at low levels,” says the Executive Director of the 100 Club, Rick Hartley. “Sadly though, we are seeing a lot of violent crimes toward police officers. I know at the latter part of 2013, a bank robber killed a police officer in Mississippi after he had robbed a few banks in three states, so it’s always an unknown. Police work is always an extremely dangerous job as we all know, and the officers who respond to traffic violations and domestic violence disturbances and all they calls they get are putting their lives on the line every time they do it. It is encouraging that the numbers are down but it doesn’t take out the risk of everything they do every day for each of us.”