The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence mourns the loss of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos who were heinously murdered on Saturday afternoon by a deranged individual intent on killing law enforcement officers, and Officer Charles Kondek, who died after being gunned down and run over, allegedly by a convicted felon, in Tarpon Springs, Florida. We send our deepest condolences to the families of these brave fallen officers. Our thoughts are also with Shaneka Nicole Thompson, who is hospitalized after being shot in Baltimore County, MD, on Saturday morning.
Our coalition of nine national law enforcement leadership organizations has long warned of the dangers of guns in the hands of those too dangerous to possess them, and has been sounding an alarm about the rise in gun violence across the nation, including the dramatic rise in law enforcement officers shot and killed in the line of duty.
Law enforcement officers put their own lives on the line to protect others, but the prevalence of gun violence across our nation is making these jobs increasingly more dangerous. Here are some of the disturbing facts:
- Firearm fatalities among law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty have risen sharply this year, up 58 percent over the same time last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
- Gunfire is the leading cause of officer line of duty deaths in 2014, as it was in 2011 when gun deaths outpaced all other causes for the first time in 14 years.
- In 2012 and into 2013, ambushes of police were the number one cause of officer firearm fatalities, and in 2014 ambushes remain a leading cause of officer deaths involving guns.
- Firearms were responsible for 93 percent of homicides of law enforcement officers between 1996 and 2010, according to a 2013 Johns Hopkins study.
- Gun deaths among all Americans have been on the rise over the last decade, going from an average of 82 per day in 2002, to 91 a day in 2012 -- the last year for which data is publicly available.
- Active shooter incidents have also been on the rise, according to a recent FBI report, with active shooter incidents increasing from 6.4 per year from 2000 to 2006, to 16.4 per year from 2007 to 2013.
Clearly, our nation has a deeply disturbing gun violence problem that is killing those in uniform and the citizens we work to protect. It is crucial that our nation pull together and work to keep guns from criminals and others too dangerous to possess them. The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence has stressed the need – as a public safety imperative – for policies requiring background checks to cover all firearm sales, not just those made through licensed firearms dealers.
We owe it to Officers Liu and Ramos, their loved ones, and all Americans to do all we can to make our nation safer and stronger, and to protect others from the same fate. We can and we must do more to quell this senseless violence.
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA)
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Police Foundation (PF)