At the end of each year, we watch line of duty death statistics and hope that they will be fewer than last year. Although law enforcement deaths were down in 2017, this year, as of November 25, 2018, firearms fatalities of law enforcement officers are up 14%, and overall officer fatalities are up 4%.
I find myself thinking not just of a number or statistic, but of the individuals and the families impacted by these tragedies – the sacrifices they made as these officers served and protected our communities. And I am reminded of the heroes that surround all of us – in our neighborhoods, our schools, and at local events – and their dedication to keeping all of us safe. I think of the Sheriff’s Sergeant in Ventura County who rushed into a nightclub earlier this month to confront an active shooter, making the ultimate sacrifice as he tried to save lives. I also think back, to the sacrifices made by many of our colleagues nearly 18 years ago, responding to the World Trade Center, more than one of whom we lost just this year, including one federal agent who succumbed to the implications of his sacrifice just last month. These are my reflections at the end of each year, and it is these reflections that remind me that it is time to again recommit to protecting the protectors, so that they can best protect those they serve – our communities, our cities and counties, our country.
The National Police Foundation will never forget why we do what we do. Our work to improve community and officer safety continues to expand. This year, we launched a Center for the Study of Mass Violence, to better prepare public safety, government, school, and community leaders to prepare for and respond to the challenges posed by mass casualty events. We’ve also launched a Center for Public Safety Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to assist law enforcement in responsibly implementing drone programs, with close attention to privacy protections and with community input. We’ve continued our efforts to work with cities and agencies desiring policing reforms to enhance trust between the police and those they serve.
The National Police Foundation works in a unique space – one that objectively and independently focuses on advancing policing through research and science. To continue this work, we rely on support from our partners and colleagues in law enforcement, and those protected by law enforcement – our communities.
On #GivingTuesday, we hope that you will support us by donating to the National Police Foundation. Every donation supports this important work, as we join together in protecting our communities.
We thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support.
Chief (Ret.) Jim Bueermann
National Police Foundation