The FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report for 2016 was finalized Monday and shows substantial increases in all relevant categories. Most saliently, the number of officers “feloniously killed” in the line-of-duty jumped to 66, a 61 percent increase over 2015.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the new numbers “as shocking as they are unacceptable” in an accompanying press release.
The feloniously killed category is a narrow one. Sixty-two of those 66 officers died of gunshot wounds, with the last four dying after being hit by motor vehicles. The 66 officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2016 is the highest single-year figure since 1997.
The single most common category of officer slaying and the largest increase recorded was the 17 “ambush” type premeditated killings in 2016, a 142 percent increase over the seven such attacks in 2015. Breitbart News has reported extensively on these attacks, the most egregious of which left five Dallas, Texas, policemen dead after a black nationalist opened fire at a July 2016 Black Lives Matter rally.
An additional 52 officers died in accidents while on duty, for a total of 118 line-of-duty deaths, a 37 percent increase over 2015.
The number of assaults on officers also increased significantly in 2016, with over 57,000 recorded nationwide. This figure represents a 14 percent increase over 2015 and a rate of more than 150 a day and nearly one assault for every ten police officers in the country.
Attorney General Sessions was confident President Trump’s law-and-order agenda could bring the increase, which occurred under the previous administration, under control. “Our law enforcement deserves the support of the people they serve. Fortunately we have a President who understands this,” he said. “President Trump ran for office as a law-and-order candidate; now he is governing as a law-and-order President.”
Sessions went on to cite Executive Order 13744 on “Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers,” one of the president’s first official acts. He said:
In one of his first Executive Orders to [the Justice] Department, President Trump directed us to prevent violence against law enforcement officers. He stands with our law enforcement 100 percent—and so does this Department of Justice. That’s one more reason why we’re focused on the President’s goal of reducing violent crime and united with local, state, and federal law enforcement in our shared mission to protect law-abiding people in every community.
While official FBI numbers for 2017 will not be available until roughly this time next year, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund estimates show a substantial drop in fatal police officer shootings so far this year. According to those figures, 19 percent fewer officers have been shot and killed compared to this time in 2016.