Industry Focus

Alarming Trend with Police

I’ve been writing, professionally, for 40 years. The first story that I ever worked on was a triple homicide, and a contract murder that was related. Back then, I didn’t think reporting could get any worse.

This event in my life was horrible, partly because I knew all the people involved, some better than others. You always think it won’t happen where you live, but it does. In today’s violent world, police officers have to think twice before going on duty. They should not have to worry about their own lives, but that is certainly not the case today.

It seems as though every week there is a reported police shooting, with devastating after effects. I live in the Dallas Metroplex, and I have witnessed a part of this horrid environment.

On July 7, 2016, Dallas police officers were ambushed during a peaceful rally in downtown Dallas. Nine other officers were injured, five of them died. The shooter was Micah Xavier Johnson, who reportedly wanted to kill white police officers. He fled inside a building where a standoff occurred. Police were able to neutralize the threat with a bomb, and the standoff was over.

This shooting was the deadliest incident for law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks.

Then, the first week of December 2016 saw six officers shot in six days, two of them died. It wasn’t a good week for law enforcement, not only in Georgia where the two officers died, but within the fraternity of police officers. Georgia has had one of the worst years in terms of police fatalities.

About 140 miles southwest of Atlanta, Americus Police Officer Nicholas Ryan Smarr responded to a 911 call about a domestic dispute at a local apartment complex.

His best friend, Georgia Southwestern University officer Jody Smith, responded to the call as backup. At the scene, Minguell Lembrick shot and killed Smarr, 25, and critically wounded Smith, who later died from his injuries. Smith, who planned to get married this upcoming spring, had asked Smarr to be his best man.

With two weeks left in 2016, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund had documented 64 police officers shot to death. That’s a 68 percent increase over the same 50-week period in 2015, according to the group’s records.

Law enforcement may be seen as a career where officers have the advantage of security. They don’t. Measures must be taken now to ensure that police officers are protected and that no one officer responds to a call alone.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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