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Officer Down

Monday, September 22, 2014

Targeting Law Enforcement a Troubling Trend

--It is extremely troubling. It is bad enough for a person to walk out their door and decide to target just anybody for execution. But, to target those that are supposed to protect us is just unfathomable. 

It not only worries the police on a whole new level but the citizens they are sworn to protect begin to question how the police can protect them if they can't protect themselves.

To assist with this somewhat, Ford has made some changes to its Police Interceptor car that can read about in this article Ford offers 'surveillance mode' to cops.--

Borys Krawczeniuk On Sep 21, 2014
Source: The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.
Just a week before the ambush that killed state police Cpl. Bryon K. Dickson II and wounded Trooper Alex T. Douglass at their Blooming Grove barracks in Pike County, a northwest Indiana police officer was shot and killed during an ambush.

Merrillville police Patrolman Nickolaus Schultz, 24, was responding to a call that an evicted tenant had moved back into a home, according to police. The gunman, Michael Hrnciar, 33, of Merrillville, shot at Mr. Schultz and other officers, then committed suicide.

Mr. Schultz and Cpl. Dickson joined the growing list of police officers killed in ambushes, a list that grew steadily during the last two decades, though the trend seems to have reversed recently.

Although the numbers of ambush deaths are relatively small and down sharply the last two years, concern about ambushes targeting law enforcement officials nationwide is up, said George Fachner, a police research scientist for CNA Analysis & Solutions, which studied police deaths for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

"That's what really has law enforcement leaders concerned about when they talk about police ambushes," Mr. Fachner said. "They're thinking of law enforcement being under attack and targeted, not so much the tactic of 'I'm going to take you by surprise because I don't want to be apprehended' ... These are the things that they're concerned about and that they're looking for ways to address."

The ambush of two state troopers nine days ago in Pike County fits the profile typical of police officer ambushes.

The average ambushed officer is a 38-year-old male with 11 years on the job, according to the association's study.

Cpl. Dickson was 38 years old and a trooper for seven years.

The average assailant in ambushes is 30 years old and 75 percent have a criminal record.
Eric Matthew Frein, the suspect in the shooting of Cpl. Dickson and wounding of 31-year-old Trooper Alex T. Douglass, turned 31 in May and he was arrested for stealing from vendors at a World War II re-enactment in upstate New York in 2004.

In entrapment ambushes, the kind that involve long-term planning, which state police say Mr. Frein did, about two in five ambushed officers (41 percent) survive.

Trooper Douglass survived. Cpl. Dickson bled to death.

Mr. Frein, 308 Seneca Lane, Canadensis, is now one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted, as hundreds of state troopers, FBI agents, conservation officers and others search for his whereabouts.
From 1990 to 2012, assailants murdered 1,219 law enforcement officers, according to the study. Of that, 190 were fatal ambushes.

The study defines an ambush as a surprise and sudden attack with the attacker concealing himself, his plans and his weapon and acting without provocation.

Between 1990 and 2000, about 12 percent of police officer murders were classified as ambushes but that rose to 21 percent from 2001 to 2012.

Since 1990, the numbers of ambushes dropped from a peak of 526 in 1991, to a low of 196 in 2001, but it has crept up, reaching 267 in 2012, the latest year for which complete figures are available, according to the study.

The number of annual ambush deaths between 1990 and 2011 rose from 8 to 15, but dropped to 6 in 2012, according to the FBI statistics cited in the CNA study.

"Looking at 2009, about 31 percent of shooting (deaths) were ambushes," said Robert J. Kaminski, Ph.D., associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina, who has studied ambushes. That's the peak.

In January 2012, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder highlighted the trends at a national meeting in Washington, D.C., on officer safety and wellness, saying the "devastating and unacceptable trend (in violence against law enforcement) ... demands our best and innovative efforts."

The Justice Department was so concerned it started its VALOR program to teach police departments nationwide how to prevent violence against police officers.

Efforts to interview Justice Department officials were unsuccessful.

Mr. Frein's motives remain unclear, though state police say he has held a grudge against law enforcement since at least 2006 for reasons they have not explained publicly.

Mr. Fachner said ambush killers are usually people trying to elude police or "inflict harm on establishment figures."

Cop killers are "generally poorly socialized, ... exposed to violence at a young age, have unstable personal relationships, and feel generally unrestrained by social, legal, and ethical norms."
Often, he said, economic depression, violent crime, and disorder couple with drug enforcement play a role in violence against the police.