Police are baffled as to why more of their colleagues are being killed in the line of duty at a time when figures for violent crimes continue to drop nationwide, The New York Times
A total of 72 officers were killed in 2011, a 25 percent increase from the year before and up 75 percent from 2008, according to official FBI statistics. It marked the highest number of fatalities in two decades — if the atrocities of 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings are discounted.
It was also the first time that more officers had been killed by suspects than died in road accidents, the Times reported.
The FBI said it cannot explain why cop-killings are on the rise, although some law enforcement officials believe it could be because police departments across the country are following the lead of New York City police to cut crime by doing more street stops and confronting suspects who might be armed.
"Unlike several decades ago, there is this expectation that police matter and that police can make a difference," said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum.
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