The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety is expressing concern with figures showing 686 state law enforcement officers were assaulted in 2011.
DPS says nationwide, 72 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011. According to FBI statistics, of the 72 officers, 23 were in arrest situations, 15 were ambushed, 11 were involved in performing traffic stops, nine were involved in tactical situations, and seven were answering disturbance calls.
"It's a disturbing trend that law enforcement administrators across the nation take very seriously," Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Col. Kerry Pettingill said. "Our instructors, at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, do their best to stay on top of defensive tactics training in an effort to keep our troopers skills and awareness at a high level. Officer safety is a top priority in our mission to provide public safety."
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reports from 2009 to 2011, there were 2,410 officers assaulted in Oklahoma, with over 400 of those officers receiving injuries from their attackers.
"It is concerning, the number of assaults targeted against law enforcement have consistently increased since 2009," DPS Commissioner Michael C. Thompson said. "I suspect the 2012 and 2013 numbers will continue to trend upward. The most troubling factor is the escalating violence our communities as a whole are exposed to. It is a challenge that we all must be mindful of."