The "War on Cops" That Isn't

Despite what you may have read, it's safer to be a police officer today than it has been in 35 years.


Between January 20 and January 25, 13 police officers were shot in the U.S., five of them fatally. Two officers in St. Petersburg, Florida, were killed while trying to arrest a suspect accused of aggravated battery. Two more were killed in Miami while trying to arrest a suspected murderer. An officer in Oregon was seriously wounded and another in Indiana was killed after they were shot during routine traffic stops. In another incident, four officers were injured in Detroit when a man about to be charged in a murder investigation walked into a police station and opened fire.

Some police advocates drew unsupported conclusions from this rash of attacks, claiming they were tied to rising anti-police sentiment, anti-government protest, or a lack of adequate gun control laws. Some media outlets were also quick to draw connections between these unrelated shootings. While these incidents were tragic, the ensuing alarmism threatens to stifle some much-needed debate about police tactics, police misconduct, and police accountability.

In a January interview with NPR, Jon Shane, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the shootings "follow some bit of a larger trend in the United States," which he described as an "overriding sense of entitlement and 'don't tread on me.'?" Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, told UPI, "It's a very troubling trend where officers are being put at greater risk than ever before." UPI reported that several police leaders thought the shootings "reflected a broader lack of respect for authority."

Richard Roberts, spokesman for the International Union of Police Associations, told MSNBC, "It's not a fluke.…There's a perception among officers in the field that there's a war on cops going on." Smith County, Texas, Sheriff J.B. Smith told Tyler's KLTV-TV, "I think it's a hundred times more likely today that an officer will be assaulted compared to 20, 30 years ago. It has become one of the most hazardous jobs in the United States, undoubtedly—in the top five."

During his interview with Shane, NPR host Michael Martin linked the shootings to the availability of guns. And Salon's Amy Steinberg, describing the crimes as "a disturbing trend," wrote that they demonstrated "an increasingly pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control."

Dig into these articles, and you'll find no real evidence of an increase in anti-police violence, let alone one that can be traced to anti-police rhetoric, gun sales, disrespect for authority, or "don't tread on me" sentiment. Amid all the quotes from concerned law enforcement officials in MSNBC's "War on Cops" article, for example, was a casual mention that police fatality statistics for January 2011 were about the same as they were in January 2010. Right after suggesting to NPR that the recent attacks were related to anti-government rhetoric, Shane acknowledged there has been little research into the underlying causes of police shootings.

In fact, the number of on-the-job police fatalities has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last two decades, even as the total number of cops has doubled. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 279 cops were killed on the job in 1974, the worst year on record. That number steadily decreased to just 116 in 2009.

The leading cause of death for cops on duty is car accidents, not violence. For the last several years, the number of officers intentionally killed on the job each year has ranged from 45 to 60, out of about 850,000 cops on the beat. (The latter number is from the Fraternal Order of Police; other estimates put the number as low as 550,000.) Contrary to Sheriff Smith's claim, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that policing isn't among the 10 most dangerous occupations in the country, let alone "the top five," even if you include traffic accidents.

Nonfatal assaults on police officers are down too. According to the FBI's Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted database, a little more than 10 percent of police officers were assaulted on the job in 2009, the last year for which data are available. That's a 25-year low, down from a high of just under 18 percent in 1992. And these numbers are for reported assaults, not convictions.

As for guns, Salon's Steinberg strangely came to her conclusion about "the pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control" just a few paragraphs after she noted that gun sales have risen dramatically during the same 20-year period when police officer fatalities have plummeted. Last year there was an increase in officers intentionally killed on the job, from 41 to 58, which Steinberg characterized this way: "In 2010 policemen killed on the job rose by nearly 40 percent, the greatest increase since 1974." That's true. But isn't it more significant that these numbers have dropped to the point where 17 additional deaths now represents an increase of 40 percent? In any event, 2010 also saw the smallest increase in gun sales in six years.

It may well be true that the public is growing increasingly skeptical of law enforcement officers. The Internet, cell phone cameras, and other technologies are making it easier for citizens to hold bad cops accountable. Citizen-shot video is increasingly being used to show that officers lied on police reports. There has also been some controversy during the last few years about police officers who arrest, threaten, and intimidate citizens who record them (see "The War on Cameras," January). A bevy of watchdog websites has sprung up in recent years to document police abuses.

While the use of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics has increased dramatically during the last 30 years, there is no evidence that police misconduct is on the rise. On the contrary, most criminologists believe police professionalism and training are improving. But there is almost certainly more awareness of misconduct, and that's a good thing. That increased awareness may also lead to some increased skepticism, mistrust, or even resentment of the police. But there's no evidence this sentiment has translated into violence.

None of this is meant to denigrate the heroism of police officers who confront and apprehend dangerous people. We should honor and remember those who are injured or killed protecting the public, and we should celebrate the fact that a police officer's job has gotten so much safer.

But the media love a good scare story. For police organizations, seizing on an anomalous series of shootings as evidence of cop hatred can transform the debates over such issues as funding for police departments, aggressive police tactics, police militarization, the use of Tasers, searches and pat-downs, and police transparency and accountability. Don't be misled. The safety of police officers is important, but it should not come at the expense of the safety and civil liberties of the people they are sworn to protect. 

Radley Balko ( is a senior editor at reason.

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  1. But the media love a good scare story.

    Are we talking about health care again?

    1. The national media can come up with an exciting scare story on almost any topic.

  2. What’s Balko doing impersonating a police officer in the photo?

  3. Why aren’t you doing the story on Texas allowing cops to draw blood on suspicion of a DUI?

    Can a dog die by needle jab?

    1. Why aren’t you doing the story on Texas allowing cops to draw blood on suspicion of a DUI?

      Of course, rather gets it wrong. Trust me on this one, I’m a hospital attorney in Texas.

      While Texas allows blood draws in some circumstances without citizen consent or a warrant, beat cops are not in the business of getting the blood. Transportation Code 724.017(a) states:

      Only a physician, qualified technician, chemist, registered professional nurse, or licensed vocational nurse may take a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer under this chapter.

      Now, I have a lot of problems with the way this is done in Texas, but cops are jabbing needles into people on the side of the road isn’t one of them.

      1. Here in Arizona, if you don’t submit to the FST’s they have a boilerplate fast track warrant and they drag your ass into the hospital to get a blood sample.

      2. My position has been that hospitals are for treating people, not for evidence collection, although I don’t have a problem with someone brought in for treatment having their blood drawn by hospital staff with their consent.

        The thing that pisses me off the most, though, is when cops bring someone in for a blood draw, and insist on going ahead of all the actual sick and injured people to get it done.

        1. I can understand that the cops would want to push to the front of the line. Why would a hospital allow that, given that the job is to treat the actual sick and injured people?

          1. Why would a hospital allow that, given that the job is to treat the actual sick and injured people?

            Officers have been know to threaten and actually arrest hospital personnel who don’t follow their orders.

            I had a, ahem, frank exchange of views with local law enforcement over their authority under the statute to give orders to medical personnel. It hasn’t been a problem at our facilities.

        2. Had a police officer threaten to take me to jail once because I refused to draw blood from a patient who was awake and alert, but obviously intoxicated and refusing treatment. I informed the police officer that just because someone is under arrest or even intoxicated they don’t lose their right to refuse to have medical treatment, including blood draws. I looked up the law to make sure and it said specifically that if the person refuses, blood is not drawn. Didn’t matter to the officer though. He didn’t really seem to care. Afterwards “sources” informed a local television station that we had refused to cooperate with police in the investigation. Never even interviewed anyone from the hospital for the story. Had the family members of the people this guy had killed crying into the camera how we had killed their loved ones all over again simply because now the drunk couldn’t be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide. It was sickening. If a patient refuses something, I don’t do it, unless they are clearly not of sound mind and require me to intervene to protect them. I don’t give a damn what a police officer, or a judge, says. My Hippocratic oath didn’t include a section after “do no harm” saying “unless some city official says so”.

          1. You sound like a real Liberal Turd of the worst kind. You would let a killer go free to make yourself feel all cosy and warm inside. What a major DH you would be.Stay where you are,if I see you I might get drunk and kill someone.

            1. Good thing you were here to point us all in the right direction, the rest of us were basing our opinions on Laws, protocols, trials, Justice and logic, but you are correct let’s just let our emotions cloud everything and go lynch anybody we feel has done something wrong.

      3. Austin is getting cops trained as phlebotomists (i.e. “qualified technician”) in order to do blood draws based on rubber stamp warrants. Google “no refusal austin” and/or “vampire cops austin”.

      4. After being rejected by the court three years ago, a Texas appeals court decided that a police department in the northern part of the state will be allowed to take blood samples of people suspected of driving while intoxicated.

        A Fort Worth appeals court found the place and personnel were fine, but ultimately ruled there were other problems with protocol. The court said the police station should have videotaped the procedure and officers should have asked more medical questions.

        On March 16 he Texas Criminal Court of Appeals ruled the officers were properly trained and that what they were doing was constitutional.

          1. [t]he court of appeals held that the unrecorded compelled draw of Christi Lynn Johnston’s blood by a police officer, who was also a seasoned EMS provider, in the police station’s blood-draw room while Johnston was restrained violated the Fourth Amendment’s reasonable manner requirement. (1) Under the facts here, which demonstrate that the test chosen was reasonable and that it was performed in a reasonable manner, we disagree. We reverse the court of appeals’s judgment and remand this case to the trial court. I. Background?.After Officer Stinson arrested Johnston for DWI and took her to the Dalworthington Gardens Police Station? the officers presented Johnston with the warrant and explained what was going to happen, she began to resist by kicking her feet and moving her arms. The officers restrained Johnston’s feet and left arm with “Kerlix” gauze. Officer Stinson held down Johnston’s right arm while Officer Burkhart drew blood from a vein in Johnston’s right wrist.

      5. RC Dean, there is a bill in the House to allow paramedics and emt-intermediates to do this as well. Can you imagine? Police get the guys who arrived in the ambulance and fire truck to draw blood on scene.

        1. It happens all the time, now, when there is an injury accident. Often, the blood draw for the cops is just an additional vial, because they’re drawing blood anyway.

          The problem will come when they start calling ambulances just to collect evidence. Leaving aside the consent and search and seizure issues, if the cops want blood, they should have people on their payroll who can get it.

          1. Of course, rather gets it wrong. Trust me on this one, I’m a hospital attorney in Texas

            Rather’s law

            Whenever anyone asserts rather gets it wrong or Trust me on this one, I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I’m an engineer, I have a penis, they are always wrong, and Rather is always right

            1. “Whenever anyone asserts rather gets it wrong or Trust me on this one, I’m a lawyer, I’m a doctor, I’m an engineer, I have a penis, they are always wrong, and Rather is always right”

              I have a penis, and I bet if you put it in your mouth, you would really hate it.

              1. Hmm, I can only say for sure that you would need to change your email address

                1. Just a little humour to point out the flawed logic. No need to send E-anthrax to my inbox =(

                  1. Hmm, you must be new here. I only send Botulinum toxin via the internet-anthrax is so 2001

                    1. haha, you’re right. I’m a bit young for botox but if the Anti-Smoking ads are based on fact (which they are), I’ll need a face-lift and $20,000 worth of prepuce skin-care to undo the damages if I continue to smoke for 30 more days.

  4. These are all quotes from Radley Balko concering James O’Keefe from the last 6 months alone. I wonder why he encourages taping police, but not US Senate offices, or NPR?

    ?James O’Keefe bars spectators from recording his speech.
    ?James O’Keefe reaches new depths of despicableness. Worse, he’s spawning imitators.
    ?There’s so much real investigative journalism conservatives could be doing on government waste, incompetence, accountability, and transparency. It’s pathetic that donors on the right keep handing over money for these moronic “stings”. The right needs 10 more Tim Carneys. Instead, they keep churning out James O’Keefes.
    ?Holding Andrew Breitbart to the same standards he holds ACORN. It’s a fair point.
    Joining Me Now To Discuss What James O’Keefe’s Latest Video Means for Obama’s Plan for Libya, Are Democratic Strategist Bob Beckell, and Republican Advisor Dick Morris (Link has babies talking, really funny stuff.

    1. I’ve read the same post three times. Would it make you feel better if he gave him a blowjob?

    2. I gotta say, LoneWacko’s obsession with Weigel was much more entertaining.

      1. Yeah I got called out for not having quotes yesterday so here’s your quotes.

        1. Those aren’t quotes; it’s a list of your own moronic observations.

          A quote is reporting what someone else said either directly or indirectly. When you use a directly quote, you use quotation marks to show that those are the exact words the other person used.

          Now, please die from colon cancer.

          1. Change the adverb in the above post into an adjective, please.

          2. That is straight off his website the A simple search of O’Keefe will bring those “quotes up. 6 mentions of JOK in 4 months as far as I can see. Sounds obsessive.

            1. “Obsessive” compared to your kajillion mentions of O’Keefe and Balko in the past 24 hours?

              Pot, meet kettle.

            2. I repeat:

              When you use a direct quote, you use quotation marks to show that those are the exact words the other person used.

              How’s the tumor coming along?

          3. Now, if an of you are familiar with Mr. Balko site, he often links to and writes about folks that want to film in public, film on the Miami subways, or take pictures of federal buildings. There are kinds of guys out there that have sites that I also like to rout for that get arrested for filming. But when O’Keefe gets arrested? Derision, condemnation. It’s quite telling that Mr. O’Keefe has struck a political nerve with so called truth-seekers!

        2. Not a single one of those is a quote saying that Balko opposes taping senators or NPR.

          If you can find a quote where Balko says: “No one should be able to tape senators” you would have a point.

          1. You are an imbecile. Mr. Balko’s words “these moronic stings”. The obvious point is Balko and about 90 percent of the folks here are much more liberal and would prefer that the NPR sting did not happen. I’m glad it did. Now Balko claims to be the agitator, but I should think Mr. O’Keefe is the one with guts.

            1. GO, TEAM RED!!!!


                1. Yeah, yeah, we know – the world is all black/white; obverse/reverse; us/them; red/blue. There is no alternative. If you’re not a fan of big ol’ Team Red, you’re a fucking liberal Dem commie sympathizer.

                  Welcome back, Archie Bunker.


                  One of these things is not like the other./One of these things does not belong…

            2. The obvious point is Balko and about 90 percent of the folks here are much more liberal and would prefer that the NPR sting did not happen.

              “Obvious” perhaps to those of you whose tinfoil hat is slipping.

              Yeah, it takes guts to dress up in costume and video/record someone under false pretenses, catch them saying something they’d rather not have the public know about, and then selectively edit the recording to make it look even more outrageous and incriminating than it actually is.

              I’m all in favor of withdrawing government funding from NPR, but let’s do it openly and legitimately. I see no need for this witch hunt to demonize anyone and everything associated with NPR as if they’re all terrorist sympathizers planning the violent overthrow of the entire American Way of Life(tm).

              The problem O’Keefe had was that the tape with the NPR guy actually was kinda boring and there wasn’t all that much “there” there. So he had to punch it up a bit and make it more enticing and outrageous. In doing so, he crosses the line from being a true investigative journalist, who investigates and reports FACTS, to being a manipulator who is attempting to manufacture controversy and grab headlines for his own political motives.

              1. The best way to get a bad cop is with film, same with NPR or ACORN. Most times it takes them getting cold busted. Funny, yesterday you tried to claim Balko said nothing anti-sting. Today I give you the smoking-gun “quotes” and you’ve got a completely different bull shit reason for hating O’Keefe.

                1. you’ve got a completely different bull shit reason for hating O’Keefe.

                  I don’t know who this is aimed at, but if you’re addressing me, you’ll have to show me where I indicated in any way that I “hate” O’Keefe.

                  You’ve got some anger issues there.

                  1. You’ve got some anger issues there.

                    Wouldn’t you be angry if you were a closeted old fat fuck and your only outlet for homoerotic fantasies was a James O’Keefe obsession?

                    Jeez, give the guy a break.

            3. Oh, no, the energy and effort put in by O’Keefe could in no way, shape or form be called ‘moronic’ – despite the phone repair guys stunt gag being a pretty shallow prank for petty partisan motivations playing off a rather annoying but ultimately inconsequential shortcoming by an individual, rather than something of general relevance to, well, just about everybody. Here, I’d depart with Balko’s overall assessment of O’Keefe’s activities and focus. The ACORN work was relevant – despite how clownishly done.

      2. Since you mentioned Weigel:

        David Weigel

        1. Who are you voting for in November? I’ve got the luxury of a guilt-free, zero-impact vote in the District of Columbia, which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot. Since he’s not, I’m voting for Barack Obama, the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions,…

        E-mails reveal Post reporter savaging conservatives, rooting for Democrats

        …In the e-mails, Weigel appeared particularly invested in the President’s health care law, expressing undisguised scorn for moderate Democrats who seemed fearful about voting for it….

        1. The United States had issued increasingly forceful statements in recent days condemning the crackdown by Assad’s government, but the violence has escalated anyway.

          Well, it doesn’t work when I call epi a bad boy either

          1. Your website looks stupid. Wait I read some of it, it is stupid.

              1. I remember you from St. Paul, oh my god that’s right!

        2. That Dave Weigel situation was one of the sorriest situations in journalism in a long time. Really a disgrace, and an embarassment for anyone involved. I have heard that the listserv that caused all the trouble was not the only one.

    3. The Red Herring did it!

      The Red Herring did it!

    1. You must be one of those anarchists that comment at! Idiot

    2. Radley,

      Thanks for the statistics that show the number of bad cop incidents (as a percentage?) are going down.

      After reading all these articles the last few years I had started to get a really bad attitude about cops. This brought me back to reality a bit.

      You should put that reminder in more of your links.

  5. This is just what the people need, more cops on edge so they might shoot and kill innocent people by mistake and not be held accountable.

    1. not be held accountable

      I take responsibility for any “incidents” in the line of duty.

      Now STFU.

  6. According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted database, a little more than 10 percent of police officers were assaulted on the job in 2009, the last year for which data are available.

    Get rid of laws making actions that do not affect others into crimes, use traffic laws for public safety instead of revenue, and I’d hazard to guess that 90 percent of police could be let go.

    1. I have no patience for whining about danger created by black markets, especially since police departments (and many others) bank royally off forfeiture takes that black markets alone make possible.

      If you establish and insist on a multitrillion-dollar international black market in controlled substances, don’t whine when people fight over those trillions of dollars. That result is immediate and inevitable, as everyone full well understands.

      Millions of people, however — from cops, to court personnel, to lawyers, to parole/probation/therapy guys — depend on that black market for their very jobs, and the forfeited millions (billions?) per year are extra gravy.

      The carnage (e.g., headless cadavers littering the Mexican desert) is simply the price they’re are willing to pay to keep black market profits coming.

      But if a cop too gets touched by the violence, IT’S A WAR ON COPS!!!!!!!!!!!!

      But of course it’s not: It’s the inevitable consequence of criminalizing intoxication for profit.

  7. That Steinberg finds a “pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control” should be no surprise. For Gun Control advocates there is ALWAYS a “pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control” so long as the trends are against them. If they were getting restrictions passed right and left and crime statistics were rising THEN it would be surprising if they felt a “pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control”. Gun Control isn’t about facts, it’s about fear. Its advocates are scared by guns, and want the awful things to go away. Once you understand that, their behavior ceases to puzzle …. or even interest.

    1. Gun control people aren’t afraid of guns. They like it when cops have guns. They’d be happy if every cop carried a machine gun.

      They are afraid of themselves. They are emotional twits who know that if they had a gun they would use whenever they had a fit.
      Because they are so unstable they assume that everyone else is also unstable, and want to restrict access only to people who have had “proper training”.

      Gun control advocates are children trapped in adult bodies.

      1. my personal experience with Gun Control types is the opposite; that they tend to be people who don’t like it that cops carry guns, and who live in a world where being ready to defend yourself or others from free floating thuggery counts as “escalating”. It isn’t that they imagine themselves going on a shooting spree, it’s that they imagine themselves calmly talking some rabid mass-murderer into surrendering and getting some therapy.

        1. And what planet do you live on?
          I have NEVER met a Gun Control type that didn’t believe the police should be able to shoot the “Suspect” on sight, these are the scum that would have due process done away with as they ARE Fascists, one and all!
          It is time for the American People to grow up and stop pretending that wimps should be comfortable in life, if their main influence in life is fear, then no one should care that their in fear!
          The gutless are not Americans, they are nothing but Citizens of the united states, and you all should look into who invented that word citizen, the old lie is that the Greeks invented it, this ain’t true, the Egyptians invented this term, and it meant “SLAVE”, and I ak anyone to explain why we should listen to anyone that desires to be kept safe as a “SLAVE”!


          1. I find it deliciously ironic that someone who calls others fascists is themselves using thoughts and language that is inherently fascistic.

            D. Young’s rant is emblematic of Umberto Eco’s essay “Eternal Fascism.” The preoccupation with effete “gutless” anti-gun “wimps” he rails against; his delineation between real and “fake” Americans based on this desperate appeal to patriotism; the patriarchal conceit that others need to “grow up” while Young’s wisdom serves as a model for all; The language of struggle against imagined “slavemasters” among the so-called citizens he distinguishes from “real Americans.”

            Funny how these things work eh, D. Young?

    2. Gun Control (Progressive Liberal version) = Banning anything that looks like a weapon or legally restrict possession so that it may not threaten the Power of the Ruling Class.

      The Tyrant’s greatest fear; the arms of a free people.

  8. This story, regarding the killing of two LEOs about a year ago, is another example of this myth being propagated:…..-citizens/

    Perhaps Balko can use this piece to further make his point of the embellishment going on.

  9. Hey, I had to go through my NYPD stop-and-frisk last night. No reason was ever given for stopping us.

    1. Because you have a Mexican name! Just kidding, I disagree with random frisking, and I don’t think we should racial profile. I do think we should ask all Mexicans that are undocumented to go to the nearest ICE office and get documented. It’s come to my attention that Europe, Asia, and Australia are very strict with undocumented aliens, as where America still looks the other way quite often.

      1. Yeah, no. European rules on immigration are pretty lax – EU laws allow open travel between Eurozone members and if they had tough laws on immigration I wouldn’t be hassled by the African peddlers on the street.

        And Australia, seriously? Who’s going to swim a thousand miles to sneak across that border?

        1. And Australia, seriously? Who’s going to swim a thousand miles to sneak across that border?

          Papua New Guinea is about as far from Australia as Cuba is from Florida. Also, most illegals in Australia are people who either overstayed their tourist visa or claimed refugee status.

      2. So if they got documented, you’d be cool with letting them stay?

  10. UPI reported that several police leaders thought the shootings “reflected a broader lack of respect for authority.”

    Well there you have it in a nutshell. These lying pussies just can’t deal with the fact some people would actually question their Authorataaaa… Fucking pigs.

    1. Perhaps if criminal laws were limited to acts of force and fraud against another person people might have more respect for the law, and by extension more respect for law enforcement.

      1. We have a winner!

        You want respect, be respectable. Respect, like trust, is earned, not extracted or deemed.

        1. It’s not the cop’s fault that most of the laws they are tasked to enforce are bullshit.

          Then again, what kind of person seeks out a job where they are tasked with enforcing bullshit laws?

          1. Ask dunphy. He claims by enforcing bullshit, he’s part of the solution! The rest of us who simply want to go about our lives without being hassled by assclowns with an authority fetish are part of the problem or something. I dunno, I kind of tuned out after he said he was part of the solution.

            1. i never said that, but continue your lies. i said that the rule of law is the rule of law. some stuff i have discretion on, some i don’t. i spend less than 3% of my time enforcing ANY sort of drug laws.

          2. Nonsense it isn’t the cops faults. Every time some bullshit, do-gooder, nanny-state law is proposed the cops are the first people standing there to tell you why it’s absolutely necessary.

            1. as usual, this lie continues. or maybe it'[s just ignorance. generally speaking, it’s the IACP. here’s a hint. police ADMINISTRATORS don’t represent line cops any more than the head of GM represents assembly line workers. the media goes to, and quotes cop-o-crats/politicians. not actual line cops.

              most cops i know think mj should be decrim’d, fwiw.

          3. It is the cop’s fault. He’s not an automaton, he’s a person who has the ability to make choices – including the choice to go into the law enforcement field in the first place.

            I consider cops, like everyone else, morally responsible for their choices.

  11. This is just what the people need, more cops on edge so they might shoot and kill innocent people by mistake and not be held accountable


  12. None of this is meant to denigrate the heroism of police officers who confront and apprehend dangerous people. We should honor and remember those who are injured or killed protecting the public, and we should celebrate the fact that a police officer’s job has gotten so much safer.

    Sorry Radley if I don’t shed a tear, but this is complete bullshit. If I read more stories where a cop actually put his life on the line to save someone instead of shooting innocent people and killing dogs, or too fucking stupid to understand how wireless internet works, then I might change my attitude. But these stories just don’t exist. If they did happen, they would exist. No one sucks the cop cock harder than the media. They’d love to have a hero cop story.

    Now I know is gonna post a story. Too bad we can’t keep a tab on these kinds of stories, a prick side, and a hero side. The prick side will always win.

    1. Well there was that cop in North Carolina a year or two ago responding to an “active shooter” call at a nursing home. He went in by himself and took out the shooter with his pistol, clearly saving lives.

      Can anyone think of anything more recent?

  13. Why do people get all bent out of shape every time some stupid cop gets clipped in the line of duty? Getting shot at comes with the job, get over it already.

  14. “On the contrary, most criminologists believe police professionalism and training are improving.”

    See, THIS is where I’d like to see some data.

    1. Taking down Rover with one bullet, instead of three, could be interpreted as an increase in proficiency.

  15. Police declare “WAR” and they think they’re not going to get severe backlash?

    They get what they give.

    1. This is what cops don’t get. Engage in acts of war, and you will be received in kind.

  16. Fucking perfect day for this story.

    I got pulled over just a little while ago. Speeding (39 in a 25) in a school zone. Of course, in California, they have signs that say “Speed Limit 25 When Children Present” instead of the flashers that let you know the limit is currently in effect.

    Now, the only children “present,” were the ones behind the 8 ft chain link fence inside the buildings. I told the cop that there were no children present and he asked me what about the school? I told him they were in class, and if I were to endanger them, I’d have to plow through a fence and a brick building, and that the speeding would become pretty irrelevant if that were the case. Well, that’s when he told me to watch my tone. I asked for his name and badge number, and he told me his name was Officer Sanchez and the badge # would be on the citation. Again, I asked him what his name was, because I was sure his parents didn’t name him “Officer.” He didn’t see the humor, and told me that I needed to respect his position. (Obviously, this made me laugh.) Anyway, I told him respect is earned, and ticketing someone for speeding in a school zone with no kids present solely to generate revenue isn’t exactly the best way to earn it. Then, he actually had the balls to tell me that if I kept it up, I’d find myself in the middle of a safety inspection that would keep me tied up for a couple of hours, and that he was certain would result in more charges. That’s about the time I removed my phone from the holder and opened up my recorder app and asked him to repeat that so I was sure I had it recorded (it wasn’t actually recording). He walked away, came back in a few minutes with the citation that read, I shit you not, 39 in a 35 zone and told me he was doing me a favor by dropping the school zone thing.

    Anyway, I had not wanted to punch a cop that bad in a really long time. Now I’ve got to go to court and see Sanchez just to prove my point and be a dick. I sure hope the judge sees the absurdity in the ticket.

    1. This story made me laugh, and good on ya…but…um…would I be right to guess that you are a white chick? (Apologies if I am wrong.)

      I’m thinking that if you’d have been a person of color and/or a penis-owner you might have had a slightly different experience.

      Just sayin’.

      1. I’m all man,baby. I think Sanchez just got nervous that I was gonna call his Sargent or something. Now, he can say I was ticketed for the correct offense and my complaints are just bullshit.

  17. A good cop isn’t afraid of tazing someone without reason!

  18. You people do realize that many of these anti-police comments only hurt the image of libertarians It makes you look unserious. Maybe you don’t care. Take another toke dopehead.

    1. The guy who calls us dopeheads is concerned about our image? Concern troll is concerned.

      Suck start a Mossberg, choad.

      1. T, I actually LOL’ed. CHOAD! hahahahaha

      2. oops…. “Choad”. I forgot my quotes. I’ve added them, lest I get some backlash from the guys at the top of the page.

  19. “Salon’s Steinberg strangely came to her conclusion about “the pressing need to revisit the conversation on gun control” just a few paragraphs after she noted that gun sales have risen dramatically during the same 20-year period when police officer fatalities have plummeted.”

    Very nice.

    But seriously – even if war were declared on police, even if a growing number of people begin attacking police – shouldn’t the first question be Why?

    If a 40% increase in cops killed in one year is not an anomaly, perhaps we should ask if there is a reason. We have already incarcerated over 1% of the adult population, so presumably most of the violent people are already in jail – so why more assaults now? It’s probably just demographics, but perhaps it is a reaction to something, like – I don’t know? – the fact that over 1% of adults are in jail?

  20. Unfortunately, the “War on Police” is a cold war.

  21. Total deaths are slightly up in 2011 over this time in 2010 63 vs 57. The thing that is concerning LEOs today though is types of deaths. In 2010, within this time period JAN-APR there were 19 LOD deaths by gunfire from a suspect. In 2011 (with 4 days left to go) there have been 31 LOD deaths by gunfire from a suspect. That is what we used to call in my stats class “Statistically Significant”

    Source: Officer Down Memorial Page

    I am not going to attribute any cause or issue. Nor do I give a wet slap what some NPR nimrod says is to blame. I am saying that there is a valid reason for LEOs to be a bit concerned.

    1. “I am not going to attribute any cause or issue. Nor do I give a wet slap what some NPR nimrod says is to blame. I am saying that there is a valid reason for LEOs to be a bit concerned.”

      Not really. Just because there’s an uptick in fatalities over a given period doesn’t indicate that the job overall has gotten that much more dangerous. If, during the same four-month period, you saw that plane crashes were up fifty percent, would you be overly concerned about flying? I wouldn’t, simply because despite whatever uptick (hell, I’ll even grant you a “surge”) there might be in fatalities, the odds of dying in a plane crash are extremely slim.

      Flying remains a safe mode of travel, and police work remains a safe line of work.

  22. Here’s the deal, cops are using tasers as torture devices, not for the intended purpose of,”nonlethal” (but deadly)orders compliance. We see cops as out of control assholes that don’t have any rules to follow,and if they kill someone they get a two week vacation with pay and a medal. The US court system is the worst, most corrupt cartel of criminals, and homegrown terrorists in the free world

  23. that;’s the law in my state in re: paramedics (EMT-P). they are allowed to draw blood. it’s within their level of training (they can intubate and set an IV line also…)

    i’ve had EMT-P do dozens of blood draws for me

  24. there is no “war on police”. balko is… as he usually is… correct.

    LOD officer deaths roughly mirror homicide trends in general, which makes sense…a less violent society kills less cops. that’s the case. we are at a multi-decade low in violent crime.

    a simple trip

    to ODMP.ORG can give you stats year by year and by method of death.

    there are a # of other issues as well

    1) better trauma care. this is true for battle (iraq war etc.) deaths as well . simply put, given a specific method of injury, anybody (cops included) are more likely to survive due to improved trauma care
    2) ballistic vests. far more common (usually mandated) now vs. 20, 30 ,40 yrs ago . 3 guys in my former unit were shot in one incident. all survived. two of them wouldn’t have, absent a vest
    3) MUCH better officer safety training. look at an incident I had last night. we had an armed barricaded assault suspect (he had assaulted several others with a rifle). the way we responded and set perimeter, established command post, etc. made for better communication, coverage, lowered risk of crossfire , etc. all things that our training has improved on. i also had benefit of a ballistic helmet as well as vest, making a fatal shot to me less likely.

    we had swat and hnt on the way when the guy surrendered, but they were available. patrol would not be the ones making an entry. he was alone in the house. time was on our side. no reason to rush in.

    tactics like this are used to safely take suspects into custody all the time and of course this incident will never make the newspapers. if he shot us or vice versa… it would have

    simply put though, society is less violent- thus cops are less prone to violence.

    1. So why all of the “itz a WAR on copzzzzz” rhetoric?

      1. because sensationalism takes precedence over accuracy. this is the media we are talking about.

        fwiw, last year it SEEMED like there was a war on cops here in WA. it was just a perfect fucking storm.

        it started with 4 cops shot and killed in lakewood, ofc. brenton killed in seattle, etc. and in both cases, these cops were just minding their own business. in a coffee shop or sittin in their car.

        there was the guy monfort who tried to firebomb a bunch of police cars, then kill the responders with a secondary device. fortunately, his bomb-making sucked.

        we had the cop in pierce county shot and killed at the DV.

        i’ll tell you in the pac NW it *was* bad. but statistical anomalies don’t make a trend

  25. We’re not stealing your money, we’re creating jobs.

    We’re not eliminating choice, we’re improving your health.

    We’re not invading your privacy, we’re protecting you from terrorism.

    We’re not impeding free-speech, we’re spreading equality.

  26. I liked your article. I have been in law enforcement (California) for 24 years. I your arguments covered the basis.

  27. You bet your ass there’s a war on cops going on, and a justified and warranted one, at that. Fucking harbingers of tyranny.

  28. Damn straight there’s a strong hatred for cops in America. They bring it on themselves. Their “god complex” is their downfall. The tactics they employ require a defensive posture. People aren’t attacking cops, they’re trying to defend themselves from the brownshirts. It’s a well known fact that cops kill innocent people, regularly. They don’t follow rules, they lie, and get rewarded for it. There is absolutely no reason anyone should live in fear that their home can be raided at any time, for any reason, and they and their dogs are subject to wrongful death administered by unaccountable thugs. Even if the intentions were good too many mistakes are made, and cops are too quick to respond with a bullet.

  29. There are a few ways of existing that fall between subsistence/hunter-gatherer and the modern American lifestyle.
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