A surge in fatal shootings has contributed to a dramatic increase in deaths of law enforcement officers during the first six months of this year, the highest midyear body count in nearly three decades, says USA Today. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that 39 officers were killed in shootings, up from 27 during the first six months of last year. The midyear increase comes less than a year after the organization reported that 145 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2006, the lowest annual number in eight years. That year, fatal shootings dropped to 52, from 59 in 2005.
“These are the most alarming increases in officer fatalities I’ve ever seen for a midyear period,” said Craig Floyd, the fund’s chairman. “It’s somewhat shocking. Is there something at work that nobody has gotten their arms around?” he said. Traffic-related fatalities remained the primary cause of officer deaths. That number was up 36 percent so far this year. “This is very consistent with the increasing crime in many American cities,” said Joseph Carter, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “This should be a wake-up call for the whole country.” Texas reported the highest number of overall officer deaths with 13. North Carolina was next with eight.