Nearly 40 percent of police officers fatally shot this year have been slain in ambush-style attacks or when they were surprised by suspects with firearms, reports USA Today. The killings, many stunning for their brutality, have law enforcement and Justice Department officials scrambling to add protection or training for their forces.
Of the 50 officers killed by gunfire this year — a 32 percent increase from the same time last year — at least 19 were victims of ambush or surprise attacks. The increase in gun-related officer deaths is troubling because violent crime in much of the nation has been in decline. “This is a devastating and unacceptable trend,” Attorney General Eric Holder told law enforcement officials this month. “Too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them.” Holder has launched a broad review of officer-safety, citing the need for more research to help officers survive violent encounters.