Browse By

Respect, Honor, and Remember the Facts thanks to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund

Thomas Sowell declares without equivocation that “There was never a more appropriately named book than “The War on Cops” by Heather Mac Donald, published a few weeks ago, on the eve of the greatest escalation of that war by the ambush murders of five policemen in Dallas. Nor is this war against the police confined to Dallas. It is occurring across the country.”

Let’s take a look and ask whether Sowell’s pronouncements are accurate.  Is there a “War on Cops” right now? Is it occurring across the country?

I give great credit to the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund, which maintains an up-to-the-day accurate count of police officers who lose their lives, day after day, month after month, year after year. Let’s look at the death toll of police officer, by year, going back all the way to 1970.

Police Deaths by Year, United States, 1970-2016

The 2016 count is an estimate given the number of police officers killed in the United States as of August 28, 2016, calculating a daily rate, then multiplying that figure by the number of days in the year.

Every death of a police officer is a tragedy. Thank goodness that far fewer police by number alone are being killed now than in the Clinton Era, than in the Reagan Era, than in the Carter Era, than in the Nixon Era. Thank goodness that this is a safer era for police officers’ lives than ever before in modern American history.

Actually, the above graph underestimates the change, since it measures a simple count of police officers who lost their lives.  The actual population of the United States in 2016 has grown to be 58% larger than it was in 1970. A more accurate measurement in the change in the danger to police officers’ lives in the United States is as a rate of police deaths per year in the U.S. per 1,000,000 population:


Rate of Police Deaths in the United States per Million Population, by Year, 1970-2016

It’s a shame that police officers continue to be killed in any number.  However, thank goodness that the United States has become so much safer a place to be a police officer in the twenty-teens than it a generation or two ago.  Clearly, there is no “war on cops” in the current day.  I wish this sort of trend would hold true for all people, everywhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psst... what kind of person doesn't support pacifism?

Fight the Republican beast!