The past year has taken its toll on police departments across the country and now officers fear there’s a greater chance they’ll be ambushed when going out on calls. First there was Dallas, then Baton Rouge. More recently, there was Boston and Palm Springs, California. It can happen anywhere.
Many believe that racially-charged media coverage of police involved shootings have further strained the relationships between police and the communities they serve. Veteran law enforcement officers tell Fox News that the anti-cop climate, fueled in part by the Black Lives Matter movement, has made the job even more dangerous.
Officials with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund say there have been 14 deadly ambushes involving officers, so far this year, compared with 16 all of last year.
On many of these calls, police come to find that the gunmen, who are often wearing body armor, are attempting to commit suicide-by-cop. Many officers responding to domestic dispute calls also find themselves in similar ambush-type situations. During the incident in Palm Springs, a known gang member opened fire on responding officers, killing two. It was later reported that the suspect’s father told a neighbor his son was ‘acting crazy’ and wanted to shoot police.
An ambush-style assault can be planned or spontaneous and consists of four factors, say law enforcement experts. They are: the element of surprise, concealment of the assailant, suddenness of the attack and a lack of provocation.
At a time when it seems police can use as much support as possible, many depts. are reporting that politicians have abandoned them to “score political points,” according to Fox News.
Some criminal justice experts say that many inner-city youth have a “profound fear of police” and that many officers fear there’s a “danger in every encounter.”
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