- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2022

More police officers were shot and killed in the line of duty in 2021 than in any of the previous three years, according to a national police union.

The National Fraternal Order of Police on Monday released a report showing 63 officers were gunned down while on the job in 2021, up from 47 in 2020, 50 in 2019 and 53 in 2018.

Union President Patrick Yoes says the deadly violence against law enforcement is fueled by increasing hostility toward police.

“As we have said before, the recent erosion of respect for law enforcement and anti-police rhetoric has fueled more aggression towards police officers than what has been seen in previous years,” Mr. Yoes said in a statement Monday.

The report also shows the 103 ambush-style attacks targeting police this year is up 115% from the previous year.

In a recent ambush attack two weeks ago, Baltimore police officer Keona Holley died after being shot in the head while sitting in her patrol car.

Michael Mancuso, president of the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3, said that “as law enforcement personnel we know full well the risks involved in our chosen profession; something we, and our families deal with on a daily basis.”

“But nothing about police officer Holley’s death can be imagined or prepared for in advance,” Mr. Mancuso said on Dec. 23. “Keona’s life had meaning and mattered to her family, her friends, and her colleagues and now she is gone.”

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 report, 346 officers were shot last year, up from 312 officers in 2020, 293 in 2019, and 237 in 2018.

The majority of officers shot as of Dec. 31 worked in heavily populated states, including Texas (43), followed by Illinois (29), California (23), Georgia (19), Florida (17) and Alabama (17), according to the FOP report.

Meanwhile, states where no police were shot through December have smaller populations. The report listed Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming, as well as the U.S. territories of American Samoa and Guam.

“The attacks on law enforcement officers during 2021 were a harsh reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm’s way due to the dangerous nature of their profession, but that they are the targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer,” Mr. Yoes said.

The union president called on Congress to pass the Protect and Serve Act, which would make it a federal crime to knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, injury to a police officer.

Senate Republicans introduced the legislation this year.

The law, he said, would “address the national problem of ambushes and unprovoked attacks on our nation’s law enforcement officers.”

The National Fraternal Order of Police is the nation’s biggest law enforcement labor organization with more than 364,000 members.

The FOP said the statistics are subject to change and are based on data derived from the Justice Department, media monitoring software and general research.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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