As thousands of law enforcement officers gathered in Miami yesterday for a funeral for two slain police officers, news quickly spread that two more officers had been shot and killed in St. Petersburg, Fl. In both cases, officers were killed as they tried to serve an arrest warrant, says the New York Times. The Florida shootings are part of a wave of violence that law enforcement officials called highly unusual. Thirteen officers have been shot in the U.S. since Thursday, four fatally and several others critically wounded.
“It's unbelievable,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. “I can't remember this many shootings happening in such a short period of time.” Already this year, 10 police officers have been killed in the line of duty, after an especially deadly year for law enforcement. In 2010, 61 federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire, up 24 percent from 2009, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “It's a very troubling trend where officers are being put at greater risk than ever before,” said Craig Floyd, the group's chairman. “Many of these criminals are outgunning our police officers. We're seeing criminals with high-velocity clips on their guns.” One possible explanation for the spike in shootings is that many police departments are emphasizing executing arrest warrants against repeat violent offenders.