The Police News'Ambush-style attacks' against officers were up 115% in 2021 compared to 2020
'Historic' 346 officers shot in line of duty in 2021: National Fraternal Order of Police
A "historic" 346 police officers were shot in the line of duty in 2021 — 63 of whom were killed, according to the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), which represents more than 346,000 U.S. law enforcement officers.
The number of officers shot in the line of duty last year is up from 312 officers shot in 2020, 47 of whom were killed, and 293 shot in 2019, 50 of whom were killed, according to an FOP analysis.
"As we have said before, the recent erosion of respect for law enforcement and anti-police rhetoric has fueled more aggression towards police officers than what has been seen in previous years," FOP President Patrick Yoes told Fox News in a statement.
The five states with the highest numbers of officers shot in the line of duty were Texas (43), Illinois (29), California (23), Georgia (19) and Florida (17).
"Ambush-style" attacks — when officers are shot at without any warning or opportunities to defend themselves — were up 115% in 2021 compared to 2020, with 130 officers shot in 103 ambush attacks.
Yoes encouraged Congress to pass the "Protect and Serve Act" of 2021 that would make it a federal crime to knowingly cause or attempt to cause injury to an officer.
"The attacks on law enforcement officers during 2021 were a harsh reminder that our law enforcement officers are not just in harm's way due to the dangerous nature of their profession, but that they are the targets of cowardly individuals whose sole motivation is to injure or kill a law enforcement officer," Yoes said. "Despite all of this, the brave men and women of law enforcement will continue to hold the line, stand in between good and evil, and work tirelessly to protect the communities they serve."
More than a dozen major U.S. cities ended 2021 with either record homicides or the highest homicide numbers in two or three decades, including Atlanta (30-year record) and Chicago (25-year record), even as other violent crimes such as aggravated assault and non-violent crimes such as burglary decline in the same areas.
Meanwhile, police killed 1,117 civilians in 2021 — down from 1,127 in 2020 but up from 1,072 in 2019, according to the Mapping Police Violence database.
Most police killings (34%) began with alleged violent crime encounters, other nonviolent offenses (17%) and traffic stops (11%), according to the database.
The Los Angeles Police Department marked an increase in cases where officers shot or killed people in 2021 compared to either of the last two years. LAPD officers shot people 38 people — 18 of them fatally — in 2021 as of Dec. 29, according to the Los Angeles Times. Officer William Jones fatally shot a 14-year-old girl on Dec. 26 when he fired at a suspect who allegedly attacked several people in a North Hollywood Burlington Coat Factory store and ended up fatally striking the girl.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.