Crime Watch 8

Database shows officers dying from guns more than traffic accidents

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of Southport Police Lt. Aaron Allan. 

It also comes days after two more law enforcement officers were shot to death nationwide.

A national database indicates officers are dying from gun violence at a much steeper rate than last year. So much so that firearm-related deaths are now more common than traffic-related ones for officers. The data is from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Allan was shot while trying to help a man who got into a car crash last July.

Meanwhile this week, officers died in Milwaukee and Avondale, Arizona, in shootings. 

“An attack on an officer is an attack on the whole community as a whole. Because what is being attacked is what that officer represents,” said Rick Snyder, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police No. 86 in Indianapolis.

He noted that Friday’s anniversary of Allen’s death will be tough for the central Indiana community. The statistics that more police officers are dead in shootings “is indicative of is the level of violence in our communities,” Snyder said. 

It’s part of what the law enforcement community says is a frightening trend. Not only are officer deaths up. Firearm-related deaths across the nation are up 33 percent from 2017 to 2018 to this date, which is higher than traffic-related deaths. 

“Am I surprised? No I am not because of the violence that we are seeing,” he said. 

Two officers in Indiana have been shot this year: Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett and Terre Haute Police Officer Rob Pitts. 

“It’s right here in our own backyard,” the FOP president said. 

Snyder said he hopes this data does not become part of the gun control debate. He said he believes the question to be asked is this: What is going through people’s heads and in their hearts to shoot police?

He said continuing to have conversations about violence in communities is vital. For him, Snyder said, the intentional nature of more recent attacks has his alarm bells going off.     

“If that’s becoming common place, we’re done,” Snyder said.

So, as Southport and other communities mourn, Snyder said he hopes people reflect, honor, and make communities better.