Ambush-style attacks on police officers are up 139% this year compared to 2020, going from 36 to 86, according to a national police union.
At least 109 officers have been shot in the 86 ambush-style attacks this year, 26 fatally, according to a preliminary report released on Monday by The National Fraternal Order of Police.
Union President Patrick Yoes says the uptick is linked to the “demonization” of police, which has made “communities and law enforcement jobs less safe.”
“Due to lingering animosity toward law enforcement officers, overheated political rhetoric, and a decline in respect for law and order – we are seeing an increase in violence that specifically targets officers,” Mr. Yoes said in a statement on Monday.
Texas reportedly accounts for the highest number of ambush-style attacks (39), followed by Illinois (24), California (21) and Florida (16).
Meanwhile, at least 9 states, two U.S. territories and Washington, D.C have reported zero ambush-style attacks, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, the American Samoa and Guam.
The union defines an ambush-style attack as an incident “when an officer is shot without any warning or opportunity to defend themselves.”
According to the union, the total number of officers shot this year is also up compared to last year, going from 256 to 281.
The statistics, it said, are subject to change and are based on data derived from the Justice Department, media monitoring software and general research.
The union leader said the numbers show why Congress should pass the “Protect and Serve Act” introduced in May by Rep. John Rutherford, Florida Republican.
If passed, the bill would make it a federal crime to cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer. Those who violate the law would face up to 10 years behind bars.