Police shootings:2009 a dangerous year for police
By COLLEEN LONG
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — A police officer is gunned down in his patrol car in Penn Hills, Pa., while waiting for backup. In Pierce County, four officers starting their day at a coffee shop are ambushed by an ex-con with a handgun. Another four officers are shot to death in Oakland, Calif., after a traffic stop gone awry.
Across the nation, 2009 was a particularly perilous year for officers involved in gun disputes.
The number of officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire increased 24 percent from 2008, according to preliminary statistics compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit organization that tracks officer-related deaths.
As of Saturday, 47 police officers had died nationwide this year after being shot while on duty, up from 38 for the same time in 2008, which was the lowest number of gunfire deaths since 1956, according to the data.
In the past decade, small spikes in gunfire deaths have been common, but experts say they are surprised by the number of officers this year who have been specifically targeted by gunmen.
“There’s an increasingly desperate population out there,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “Other than in rare cases for ideological reasons, we really haven’t seen people taking on the cops head-to-head. Something is amiss. It should be cause for grave concern.”
Fonte:Crime in America