A new report released by the FBI shows the number of police deaths have decreased in the past year; 41 officers died in 2015, compared to 51 in 2014.
The decline adds a new element of discussion to police supporters who claimed that the 2014 spike in police killings was due to anti-cop sentiment after continuous years of high-profile police shootings. In 2015, FBI Director James Comey’s comments on the “Ferguson effect” raised eyebrows and further escalated the debate between the police community and anti-police brutality protesters.
According to the FBI, police deaths have only fallen under 41 twice in 60 years. In 2013, the year that preceded the recent spike, police deaths hit a record low of 27. In 1961, there were 37.
Comey released a statement on May 11 honoring fallen officers: “The memories of these heroes inspire us to do all that we can to ensure that our fellow officers, deputies, troopers, and agents return home safely at the end of their shifts.”
He also addressed the need for partnership between the police and the communities they are tasked with protecting. “All of us in law enforcement have to continue to reach out to the communities we serve so that folks can understand better the difficult and often frightening work that we do to keep them safe,” Comey said.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported there were nearly 1,000 incidents in 2015 where people were shot and killed by the police. Out of that number, 965 were fatally wounded, 564 were armed with a gun, 281 were holding a weapon, and 90 were unarmed.