Ambushes on Police Officers Are Rising Again

Ambushes on Police Officers Are Rising Again

Ambushes on Police Officers Are Rising Again

The number of ambushes of police officers has been creeping back up in recent years, creating concern among law enforcement officials at a time when relations between police and the communities they serve are particularly fraught.

The number of surprise assaults on police rose to about 250 incidents per year between 2008 and 2013, up from about 200 per year during the previous 10-year period, according to a Justice Department study released Tuesday. Those figures were still far lower than in the 1990s, when ambushes peaked one year above 500.

 

The recent uptick has concerned officials. “In an era of strained community relations and struggles with police legitimacy, violence against police is of particular concern,” said Ronald L. Davis, director of community-oriented policing at the Justice Department.

 

Police departments in urban areas have come under new scrutiny over their use of force against young back men since the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014.

 

FBI Director James B. Comey said in a speech last week that police officers may be responding to concerns of being videotaped by being less aggressive, allowing violent crime to increase. The White House and others quickly discounted that assessment.

 

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