Indy Police Rethink Tactics After Increase of Officer Assaults

For the first time in the last 20 years, more police officers have died in the line of duty than traffic accidents, causing Indianapolis police to reassess their safety tactics.


INDIANAPOLIS --

For the first time in the last 20 years, more police officers have died in the line of duty than traffic accidents, causing Indianapolis police to reassess their safety tactics.

Authorities said more people are firing shots at officers, fighting with police and running away from authorities.

In Jan. 2011, a parole violator shot and killed Indianapolis Officer David Moore. In August, a suspected gang member opened fire and wounded Officer Dustin Carmack. And in December, a robbery suspect shot and wounded Officer Dewey Runnels before the officer returned fire and killed the suspect.

Lt. Rick Snyder, vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said attacks against law enforcement officers has trended upward, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.

"What is going on in our society where people feel it’s OK to just attack our police officers?" Snyder said. “Within the firearms-related deaths, there's been a significant increase in ambush attacks on officers."

In 2011 across the United States, 177 officers died in the line of duty and 53,000 more suffered injuries. Of those, 16,000 were forced to retire, officials said.

In Aug. 2011, Terre Haute Police Officer Brent Long was shot and killed while helping U.S. Marshals serve an arrest warrant. In November, a Martinsville suspect opened fire on Marshals, who tried to arrest him on a drug charge. In the last four incidents involving gunfire and U.S. Marshals, the suspects were wanted for non-violent offenses. The upsurge in violence has forced police everywhere to rethink their tactics.

"Our agency is trying to get ahead and trying to change our way of thinking on how we go about these arrests until officers are made a little safer as they make these apprehensions," U.S. Marshal John Beeman said.

Police agencies said they see a direct correlation between officer deaths and injuries with cuts in manpower, budgets and training.

The FOP said after the Super Bowl, it plans to begin a public education campaign on the need for more officers.

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