- Associated Press - Monday, November 28, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Police officers in Minnesota have fatally shot 13 people this year, the most since the state began keeping records nearly 40 years ago.

The previous high was 12 deaths, in both 2010 and 2015, the Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/2fID1c0 ) reported. Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension data show that more than half of the 151 fatalities by officers since 1995 occurred in the last eight years.

It has also been a dangerous year for officers. Bureau data show officers have been assaulted more than 300 times each year since 2011.

An increasing number of assaults against police officers in Minnesota have coincided with the increase in fatal shootings by police.

Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association executive director Dennis Flaherty said officers are facing more dangerous situations, with more criminals carrying guns and willing to use them.

Retired FBI agent who worked in Minnesota Larry Brubaker has researched fatal shootings by police in the city since 1981 and has also written books on the topic.

He believes lack of communication and cooperation in certain situations leads to most shootings.

“I know this sounds trite, but when officers are saying: ‘Let me see your hands. Stop, don’t come any closer,’ if people would only comply with these orders, I think there would be less shootings,” said Brubaker.

Communities United Against Police Brutality, a Minnesota organization, has also researched the matter since 2000.

The group’s president Michelle Gross said while she is not sure what is causing the fatal police shootings she doubts it is due to violent crimes.

“We’re in a slump for violent crime, so it’s hard to imagine why more people are being killed by police when violent crime rates are going down,” she said. “I don’t know if some of it is the empowerment in this culture of allowing police to use excessive force with impunity also bleeds into more killings by police.”

However Flaherty said officers today receive extensive training in alternatives to using a weapon.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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