The number of officers killed in the line of duty is rising sharply, causing police across the U.S. to fear a growing anti-cop sentiment fueled by a small number of racially-charged incidents. They have expressed concern that the current negative climate is making their jobs more dangerous.
According to FOX News, high-profile cases involving police and black suspects from Missouri to Baltimore have prompted intense criticism of law enforcement from activists, media and even the White House. The result: a lot of police officers feeling alienated and angry.
“Nobody goes into law enforcement wanting to be hated,” said David Cruickshank, a Connecticut police officer. “Most get into this line of work for their love of their community.”
Cruickshank, who also serves as CEO of the Law Enforcement Research Group, said he and other law enforcement advocates worry that what they see as an anti-cop climate is killing morale amongst police across the country, no matter the size of the department.
Former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir said he believes there is a war on the police, with the flames being fanned from the nation’s highest office.
“After 20 years of incredible crime reduction accomplished by thousands of dedicated police officers, the public has become complacent now that they are safer,” he said. “They have let the anti-police pundits and talking heads convince everyone from the president to the attorney general that police are racist and brutal.”
FOX News reported that even more troubling than the plummeting morale are the statistics which show that police officers lives are in more danger than they have been in years. The FBI released data on Monday that showed the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2014 rose from 27 to 51 since last year.
A case that particularly shocked the nation involved the assassination of two NYPD police officers while they sat in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The killer had threatened the police at large via online posts and later killed himself as police closed in on him shortly after he murdered the two men.
“No warning, no provocation. They were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their uniform,” NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton said about the incident.
Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said that many of the 800,000 federal, state and local police officers are second guessing their career choices.
“With a contagion of anti-cop rhetoric permeating, some have understandably reached the point of re-evaluating what they’re risking their live for,” said Adler. “Similar to athletes on the playing field, sometimes it is difficult to tune out the boos from the no-talents sipping their drinks, sitting comfortably in their seats.”