The number of police officers killed in-the-line-of-duty is down slightly during the first quarter of 2018, but cops killed by gunfire is nearly double what it was a year ago.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers' Memorial Fund, there have been 20 cops killed by gunfire so far this year, eight more than during the first quarter of 2017. A total 34 officers nationwide have been killed in-the-line-of-duty through April 3.
“Let's just really make sure we're being very careful every time we go to one of these calls because we have no idea if it's going to be an ambush call which are becoming more and more frequent, where someone calls the police looking for help and when we arrive they start shooting at us,” says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union.
Gamaldi says HPD has a great relationship with residents, especially after Harvey. But that doesn't include everyone.
“There are still pockets of the community who don't like police and wish to do us harm, and we have to constantly be on alert,” he says. “The anti-police rhetoric in this country has increased violence against police officers, the correlation is there.”
Six Texas officers were killed by gunfire last year -- including the ambush murder of Precinct 3 Assistant Deputy Chief Clint Greenwood. A North Texas officer in Richardson already was gunned down earlier this year.
“You're seeing people who may already be on the edge of committing a violent act against police officers, then they see all these people chant 'roll 'em up like pigs, fry 'em like bacon,' then you see officers being shot, the numbers bear that out,” says Gamaldi.