Violence against law enforcement numbers down; shootings still leading cause of death

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One hundred ten– that’s the number of officers killed in the line of duty this year across the nation. And in 2018, those numbers were even higher– with 166 officer deaths in the line of duty. Gunfire is the leading cause of death for officers in the line of duty here in Alabama.

According to AL.com, a vigil was held today in Hayneville for fallen Lowndes County Sheriff, John Williams, who was shot and killed at a QV gas station in Hayneville. 

On Thanksgiving day, officers responded to a wellness check on a parked car– and were met with bullets fired by, 65 year old Troy Lynn Lewis. The shooting left two officers form Huntsville Police Department shaken, and one man charged with attempted murder.

Officer Brent Patterson tells us that situations of violence against officers are unfortunate– and that each officer takes that risk every day. Officer Patterson says, “We train every day to get better at what we do. And, unfortunately we have officer that get hurt. It’s the nature of the beast. When we put this uniform on, we always know ahead of time that this could be the last time we put this uniform on.” 

42 officers were shot and killed in the U.S. this year alone. Those numbers are actually down from last year’s 52 gunfire deaths. Patterson says their biggest ally is training for their officers to know how to react if a situation that could potentially become dangerous arises, although not all situations can be defended against.

Patterson says, “We rely on de-escalation every day. And not just that, but with any call that we go on, it’s very important. And like I said, we receive that training every day.”

Madison County Sheriff’s Dept says, fostering a relationship between them and the community they serve– is always the priority, and will help keep everyone safe and happy. Patterson adds, “With the community’s help and us working together with the community on a daily basis, I believe that can only strengthen our relationship and maybe fix our issues at hand.”

For more information on officer deaths here in Alabama and across the country, click here.

An earlier version of this article erroneously stated the number of deaths was for Alabama, as provided to us via a member of law enforcement.

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