More Officers Shot to Death Than Killed in Car Accidents

2011 marks a disturbing first for police departments
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012 12:39 PM CDT
A New York City police car sits parked in front of the funeral home where the wake for Officer Peter Figoski was being held Dec. 18. Figoski was shot and killed during a botched armed robbery.   (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

(Newser) – The New York Times takes a look at the rising number of police officers getting shot, according to FBI stats. A few of the details:

  • Spike in 2011: 72 officers were fatally shot last year, up 25% from 2010 and 75% from 2008.
  • Bad milestone: That marks the first time more cops were shot to death than killed in car accidents.

  • One theory: Departments big and small are copying a strategy of the NYPD to make more traffic stops and confront suspects who might be armed. They're also being more aggressive about entering heavy-crime areas.
  • Economy, too? "One of the concerns we are looking at is that a number of officers are being laid off or furloughed or not replaced," says an official with a police chiefs' group. And prison cost-cutting has led to some convicts getting out earlier.
  • One change: The FBI is making sure this year that cops who call in a license plate during a traffic stop get informed if the owner has a violent history. First-quarter numbers for 2012 show a drop in deaths.
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