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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told CNN's Piers Morgan last night that he doesn't "understand why police officers across this country don’t stand up collectively and say we’re going to go on strike, we’re not going to protect you unless you, the public, through your legislature, do what’s required to keep us safe."
We've been hearing a lot of that recently. Earlier this year, The New York Times reprinted a Department of Justice press release and slapped this lede on top of it: “As violent crime has decreased across the country, a disturbing trend has emerged: Rising numbers of police officers are being killed.”
Ten times more civilians were killed by cops than cops were killed by civilians in 2008, but you won’t find that information in Tuesday’s New York Times story on the “disturbing trend” of officers killed by perps.
Police officers in Los Angeles County shot and killed 54 people in 2011, an increase of 70 percent over 2010. According to the Los Angeles Times, at least 12 of the 54—or 22 percent—were completely unarmed. "With 612 people killed in the county last year," reports the LAT*, "nearly 1 in every 10 such deaths occurred at the hands of law enforcement officers."
Farmers, ranchers, commercial fishermen, loggers, garbage collectors, truck drivers, construction workers, pilots, steel workers, roofers, and others are far more likely to face death on the jobs than police or firefighters, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bloomberg, the commander of "the seventh biggest army in the world" went on to say that "police officers want to go home to their families. And we’re doing everything we can to make their job more difficult, but more importantly, more dangerous, by leaving guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and letting people who have those guns buy things like armor piercing bullets.’’
The truth is, the widely reported "war on cops" in 2010 and 2011 was exaggerated. Overall police fatalities did rise in 2010 and then again in 2011, but those figures are compared to 2009, which saw the fewest number of police fatalities since 1959. Generally speaking, police fatalities have been steadily declining since the early 1990s, along with the overall crime rate. And that's merely the raw number of deaths. Over the same period, the total number of police officers in America has also increased. So the drop in the fatality rate has been even more dramatic.
The statistics say that the jobs of police officers are getting increasingly safer. After all, even the smallest departments now have access to battle-tested body armor, weaponry, vehicles, and unmanned drones; SWAT and raid training courtesy of outfits like Academi (the company formerly known as Blackwater now trains officers "who conduct warrant service, fugitive apprehension, SWAT operations and drug search warrants who are in need of sound tactics and techniques"); asset forfeiture funds from the Department of Justice; and a neutered-and-spayed 4th Amendment, courtesy of the United States Supreme Court.
Didn't these folks want to go home to their families? Didn't they want to be safe when they were in their homes with their families?