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NLEOMF: Officers Killed by Gunfire Up 24% in 2009

NLEOMF: Officers Killed by Gunfire Up 24% in 2009

A member of Oakland Police Honor Guard stands at his post near the four caskets of Oakland Police Officers. (AP Photo)

The AP via YellowBrix

December 13, 2009

NEW YORK — A police officer is gunned down in his patrol car in Penn Hills, Pa., while waiting for backup. Near Seattle, four officers starting their day at a coffee shop are ambushed by an ex-con with a handgun. Another four officers are shot to death in Oakland, Calif., after a traffic stop gone awry. Across the nation, 2009 was a particularly perilous year for officers involved in gun disputes.

The number of officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire increased 24 percent from 2008, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a national nonprofit organization that tracks officer-related deaths.

As of Saturday, 47 police officers have died nationwide this year after being shot while on duty, up from 38 for the same time in 2008, which was the lowest number of gunfire deaths since 1956, according to the data.

Over the past decade, small spikes in gunfire deaths have been common, but experts say they are surprised by the number of officers this year who have been specifically targeted by gunmen.

“There’s an increasingly desperate population out there,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “Other than in rare cases for ideological reasons, we really haven’t seen people taking on the cops head-to-head. Something is amiss. It should be cause for grave concern.”

Contributing to this year’s spike are cases in which several officers were shot and killed in groups — the four officers last month outside Seattle; the four officers in Oakland, Calif., in March; three officers in Pittsburgh in April; and two officers in Okaloosa County, Fla., in April.

In the Nov. 29 shootings near Seattle, four Lakewood Police Department officers, all in uniform, were sitting with their laptops at a bustling coffee shop when shots rang out. Authorities said the gunman, Maurice Clemmons, spared employees and other customers. Clemmons was later shot to death in a confrontation with another officer, who wasn’t harmed.

Clemmons had a violent, erratic past in Washington state and Arkansas. His 108-year prison sentence for armed robbery and other offenses was commuted by then-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000. Six days before the shooting, he had posted bail on charges of raping a child.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    clearforcode7

    over 4 years ago

    394 Comments

    Lets make sure that we are going home vertical every day! Always watch your six and stay vigilant to keeping these scumbags off our streets.

  • Me_max50

    THREE17

    over 4 years ago

    1284 Comments

    STAY SAFE OUT THERE

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    ppamala

    over 4 years ago

    10 Comments

    I'ts with a heavy heart and gave concern that I write this. We have to find a way to stop this trend of murdering police officers. Could the killings of the police officers in seattle have been avoided ? I say yes with someone with the record of clemmons should have never been given bail in the first place. second of all everyone who helped him after the fact should be prosecuted as if they pulled the trigger as well . I live in PA where we do have strict gun laws as a matter of fact I know the brother of sgt. Renninger. The fact is no matter how strict the gun laws are we need to find a way to keep these guns out of the criminals hands. they are the problem not the law abiding citizen. So no matter how many gun laws we have these people will find a way to get guns that is what we need to stop. As far as I'm concerned we are in a sorry state when our police officers are not safe. I was raised to respect the police wish everyone was. I never really realized how difficult their job was until I attended the community police academy held in my city. It was very educational. I now will be going back to school so I can hopefully join the gang task force. I am also on the clean and safe committee in my city so I have the opportunity to meet some of the police officers in my city. We have lost too many police officers and it needs to stop, we need to work together to get it done. I just want police officers across this country to know that you are not alone, there are a lot of law abiding citizens who share your concerns, me being one of them. May God bless you all have a safe and happy holiday season.

  • Pisilhouette_max50

    nightwatch

    over 4 years ago

    356 Comments

    I agree totally with that statement that something is definately amiss. To all you LEOs out there or about to be out there today, take care and be vigiliant.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    goff_cop

    over 4 years ago

    12 Comments

    Currently I am a reserve officer waiting for my moment to go full time. I do not like to read that another officer has been killed. I have read all the commits and and I agree. All I can say is that we all need to wear our vests and be extremely safe out there.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    over 4 years ago

    19382 Comments

    People who are willing to intentionally target police officers appear to find a way to accrue guns and most gangs do possess guns regardless of the state laws. The Police Memorial in DC is an incredible tribute to LE.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    natasha74

    over 4 years ago

    604 Comments

    This is really sad hopefully things can turn around. And as for cop killer they should be put to death.

  • M11_max50

    MD761

    over 4 years ago

    88 Comments

    Last year at the memorial in DC the Attorney General Eric Holder said that he would hunt down cop killers and punish them to the full extent of the law..lets see if hes gonna keep his word....if not..I guess its up to us...Yes I said it....Its up to us!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    over 4 years ago

    5220 Comments

    I want to see this number drop also, we have lost so many LEO and it has to stop. I have never been to the Memorial in DC but I am going next year one way or the other. I will stand with other LEO to stop the killing of LEO

  • Dsc05484_max50

    Want2bLE

    over 4 years ago

    120 Comments

    More prayer work is needed at this time. I can second xcopper when I say I DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM either. Bottom line is this percentage, number of officers killed in the line of duty needs to go DOWN. End of story, like other posters said. We need to keep in mind the threat is is more great it seems than previous years. Keep your heads up, and eyes open my friends. Not LE yet myself but this board alone is helping me open my eyes to see how to deal with some different situations. Stay safe.

  • Draped_badge_max50

    184retired

    over 4 years ago

    3806 Comments

    I am saving now I want to make it to the DC memorial this year, I've been trying to get there every year but money always gets in the way...I think with all the multiple shootings and all, any of us that can make it, should make it...We need to stand united against this assassination against cops....

  • Draped_badge_max50

    184retired

    over 4 years ago

    3806 Comments

    jakester You have hit the nail on the head...I didn't vote for him but he brought about change alright...I have never seen racial tension so high in this country and just total despair..No one seems to be able to find a job lately...It is very scarey times I have a son in college is this garbage going to be turned around in 4 years so he has a chance at getting a job in the engineering field..It's like people are lashing out at the government and the only symbol they have of that is the police...

  • Justice-400_max50

    clobster

    over 4 years ago

    1552 Comments

    Hopefully the numbers will continue to decrease. Sentinel events like these will probably lead to a heavy dose of crime control by the government, probably leading to everyone's prison system being as crowded, pricey and messed up as California's. I hope that doesn't happen.

    I can't believe the comment "More officers are required to wear bullet-resistant vests." How can this not be a standard already? I understand they are cumbersome, but 20 years of a little discomfort seems worth it for that one day it saves your life.

    I hope all of you continue to stay safe out there. You may deal with some real dbags on the streets, but know there are a lot of us out there who really appreciate what you're doing for the community.

  • Gcpoms_max50

    jakester

    over 4 years ago

    1148 Comments

    “There’s an increasingly desperate population out there,” There is also a growing number of people who feel "government" (politics aside) is causal of and responsible for this desperation. They have lost hope in their personal situations and faith in the government's ability to change it. There are those too willing to create chaos as a means to reap the benefits of this desperation for their own agendas. As government agents we must be aware of this for our own safety. However, we must also refrain from adding to the growing mistrust of government and attempt to restore the hope in true democracy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    This is a statistic that I really would like to see decrease in the years to come...one LODD is one too many!

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