Following a year in which the public was relentlessly barraged with alarmist rhetoric about a “war on cops” and the dreadful impact of the so-called “Ferguson Effect,” official FBI statistics confirm that violent line-of-duty police deaths declined precipitously in 2015.
“Preliminary statistics … show that 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2015. This is a decrease of almost 20 percent when compared with the 51 officers killed in 2014.” A greater number of officers (45) suffered fatal injuries in duty-related accidents, 41 of which involved motor vehicles.
Through May 17 of this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, there have been 35 line-of-duty police officer deaths, 21 of which involve violence, such as gunfire or vehicular assault. This suggests that 2016 might see an increase in that grim total, but fortunately that remains only a possibility.
Throughout 2015, law enforcement officials, police unions, and even FBI Director James Comey warned of a “war on cops” that was supposedly an outgrowth of what they called the “Ferguson Effect” – police reluctance to use force because of concerns over negative publicity. On May 10, for instance, Comey reiterated that theme, insisting that the “viral video effect” has changed “the way police may be acting” by inhibiting them from taking assertive action to deal with violent crime. This supposedly leaves police more insecure, thereby emancipating criminals to wreak havoc on under-protected communities.