Twice as many people have been fatally shot by Maine police so far this year as in all of 2016 and 2015 combined, the Bangor Daily News reports. Between Jan. 1 and June 7, 2017, eight people were killed by officers from seven different agencies between Arundel and Presque Isle, according to data from the Maine Attorney General’s office. In 2016, Maine police killed just two people, the same number as in 2015. The Washington Post says that 417 people have been killed by police across the nation so far this year. The newspaper’s “Fatal Force” database counted 991 fatal police shootings in 2015 and 963 in 2016, which could indicate a downward trend nationally.
Criminologist Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University said the eight deaths in Maine are not “alarming … because you may not have another one for the rest of the year.” Stinson began his career as a police officer in Dover, N.H. “I think police officers in northern New England are used to encountering people with firearms [compared to police officers in more urban areas.]” he said. “We’re expecting a lot of our police officers today. They are asked to deal with people dealing with mental health issues, opiate and other addictions and post-traumatic stress disorder.”