Number of Police Officers Killed on Duty Soars

Monday, 16 Jun 2014 07:53 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The number of police officers who have died in the line of duty has increased 40 percent over the same period last year, according to the Nationwide Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

Sixty-three officers have died on the job so far in 2014 compared to 45 at the same time in 2013. Of those deaths, 23 were caused by gun-related violence, an increase of 53 percent from the same period last year, Fox News reported.

"We've had some good years, and right now we're in a bad one," Richard Beary, vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, told Fox News. "In general, we're seeing more violence in society, and that violence in society leads to violence against police officers."

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The figures mark a change in the trend since 2011, which saw a steady decline in the number of officer fatalities.

Beary said Central  Florida, in particular, has had a notable rise in officer deaths, with two killed on duty since February.

He also said last week's shootings in Las Vegas, in which Jerad and Amanda Miller ambushed two officers, shooting and killing them, before killing themselves, is an example of a new type of risk officers are facing.

"One of the biggest challenges that all of us have is if somebody is set on taking their own life, they're not afraid of taking another person's life," Beary said.

Beary's group supports stronger background checks on gun purchasers.

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