Law enforcement is constantly being challenged to rise to higher levels of performance, crime prevention, and community engagement. None of these objectives can be successfully met or exceeded without a commitment to increasing officer safety and wellness. Our law enforcement officers cannot effectively perform or connect with citizens if there are not safe internal and external environments for them. Officer safety and wellness needs to be a focal point for every agency.
Last year (2016), 144 U.S. officers lost their lives in the line of duty. Forty-six percent of those lost lives were due to gunfire. There was an increase in the number of ambush attacks on law enforcement with 21 officers lost, including 5 killed in the July 7 attack in Dallas, Texas—the deadliest attack on law enforcement in the United States since 9/11. As of March 30, 2017, there have been 32 U.S. line-of-duty deaths—10 of those deaths were caused by gunfire, and 7 were caused by automobile crashes. In January 2017, following the late 2016 ambush attacks on four officers in three states in a 24-hour period, IACP convened a task force of committed law enforcement executives to explore the issue of violence against the police and provide concrete recommendations and resources to prevent further tragedies. These resources, including a blog series, web updates, and training materials, will be rolled out over the next several months.