The FBI has released new statistics on the staggering number of police officers intentionally killed in the line of duty last year.
An analysis of the data on NewsNation’s “Dan Abrams Live” shows the number of officers intentionally killed reached a nearly 30-year high, with the exception of the 9/11 terror attacks.
According to numbers released by the FBI, 129 law enforcement officers were killed in line of duty incidents in 2021. Of the 129, 73 officers died as a result of criminal acts and 56 died in accidents.
The 73 officers feloniously killed last year marks an increase of 27 lives lost when compared to the 46 officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2020. The 73 deaths happened across 28 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
One of the most disturbing details of the FBI’s report is that of the 73 officers killed as a result of criminal acts last year, one-third of them died in what the FBI calls unprovoked attacks, meaning the violence came out of nowhere, without any warning.
“You know, the unprovoked attack, these are police officers that are strictly targeted because of the uniform they’re wearing. That’s it. No other reason,” retired Lt. Sticks Larkin said Wednesday on “Dan Abrams Live.” “When you go to the police academy, you’re always taught, be aware of what’s going on around you. When you’re on a traffic stop, what are the things you’re looking for? When you respond to a burglary, what are the type of things you’re looking for?
“But when you’re sitting in your car, writing a report, you’re sitting down somewhere, getting a bite to eat, and you’re being attacked? You know, these are things that previously we don’t have to sit and worry about. You’re aware, but you’re not worried about it. Now that these are increasing across the country, these horrible stories we’re hearing, you know, more and more officers themselves, every time they’re putting on their uniform, they have to think about these.”
The unprovoked attacks differ from ambush style killings, which are premeditated. In 2020, the number of unprovoked killings of police officers was in the single digits — two of the 46 officers killed in the line of duty died in that sort of sudden attack. But in 2021, that number spiked to 24 officers killed in unprovoked attacks, 12 times as many as the year prior.
So far this year, 20 officers have been intentionally killed in the line of duty. Three of those deaths are classified as unprovoked attacks by the FBI.
The average age of the officers who were killed as a result of criminal acts last year was 39. The FBI says the victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 12 years at the time of their deaths.
“It is more dangerous than ever to be a police officer. Everyone should be talking about these numbers, what they mean, and what we need to do about this,” said Jesse Webber, also a guest on “Dan Abrams Live.”
“All of this comes, of course, as cities and towns across the country deal with a soaring number of homicides and violent crime and police departments of all sizes grapple with staffing shortages.”
What can be done about these numbers? Larkin said from his perspective, the solution’s simple: Those who are breaking the law need to be held accountable.
“Yes, I know our prisons are full, but I think violent offenders that are caught repeatedly, especially with firearms or violent crimes … need to be locked up and kept in there,” Larkin said.
Law enforcement agencies identified 66 of the accused suspects in connection with the criminal line-of-duty deaths. Of those, 20 had prior criminal arrests and nine were under judicial supervision at the times of the incidents.