A Drop in Violent Crime, But a Spike in Officers Shot on Duty

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To the Editor:

Crime data indicates that many jurisdictions experienced a decline in homicides and/or non-fatal shootings last year. Undoubtedly, the drop in violent crime is attributed to the tireless efforts of law enforcement officials, who persevere despite being understaffed.  As political leaders tout these accomplishments, it is equally important to illuminate an alarming trend that emerged simultaneously.

In 2023, it is reported that 378 officers were shot while on-duty, thus representing a significant increase from the previous year. The targeting of police officers is troubling.  Research shows that cops rate being assaulted, death of a colleague, and deadly force encounters as the most stress aspects of policing.

During the last four months, Connecticut has witnessed multiple incidents where cops were shot at and/or forced to shoot. Sadly, in the mist of these assaults, officers sustained injuries, and a Police K-9 was murdered. Although the headlines of these tragedies are short lived, police officers endure the battles scares forever.

Connecticut police officers undergo over 1300 hours of instruction before hitting the streets. Instructors reserve multiple blocks of training for the use of force and firearms. Consequently, preparing police officers for the inevitable violent encounters. Unfortunately, not enough training revolves around getting officers ready for the anguish associated with a shooting. Therefore, a greater commitment must be made preparing officers for life “After the Bang”.

Dr. James T. Scott

Scott is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Albertus Magnus College and a retired Sergeant, Connecticut State Police