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Wray: Highest Number of Officer Deaths Since 9/11 Not Receiving Enough Attention

Especially troubling is that a record number of officers killed—nearly half—had no engagement with their assailant before the attack.

The following op-ed by FBI Director Christopher Wray was published in The Wall Street Journal:

While many Americans celebrated the holidays with their families in the final week of 2021, law enforcement kept working. And, tragically, four officers didn’t make it home to their loved ones that week. They were murdered while doing their job keeping others safe.

Baltimore Police Officer Keona Holley, ambushed while alone in her car, died on Christmas Eve. Five days later in Illinois, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Riley was killed during a call for assistance. On Dec. 30, also in Illinois, Bradley Police Department Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic was shot while attempting to locate the owner of dogs left in a car. And on New Year’s Eve, Cleveland Police Officer Shane Bartek was killed in an attempted carjacking.

These four murders brought the total number of officers feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2021 to 73, the highest annual number since the 9/11 attacks. That’s the equivalent of one officer murdered every five days. In a year when homicides and violent crime reached distressing levels, this 20-year high hasn’t received the attention it deserves.

Especially troubling is that a record number of officers killed—nearly half—had no engagement with their assailant before the attack. Each story is heartbreaking: A 30-year Florida deputy murdered one shift shy of retirement; an officer ambushed on his first day on the job, leaving behind a wife and 6-month-old son; a combat veteran and his police dog killed while serving together.

Read more at FBI

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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