Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray issued a warning about rising police officer homicide rates, which exceed overall violent crime in America.
“Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn’t get enough attention,” said Wray in a 60 Minutes interview with CBS News. “Last year, officers were being killed at a rate of almost one every five days.”
The number of officers killed rose by 59% last year, according to Wray, with seventy-three officer fatalities on duty in 2021.
Per Wray, an “alarming percentage” of the seventy-three police killed were ambushed or shot while on patrol, adding, “Wearing a badge shouldn’t make you a target.”
“Some of it has been related to the overall problem with violent crime,” Wray said. “Last year, I think we arrested something like 15,000 violent gang members around the country. And part of what fuels us to pursue this mission is our deep conviction that law enforcement’s most sacred duty is to ensure that people can live free from fear in their own homes and neighborhoods.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police reported earlier this month that police officer shootings have increased by 43% compared to 2021. According to the group, 101 officers have been shot as of April 1.
The group’s president, Patrick Yoes, said in a statement that the brutality directed against law enforcement officers is a “real crisis” and unlike anything he has seen in his 36 years of law enforcement.
“Last year was one of the most dangerous years for law enforcement, with more officers shot in the line of duty since the National Fraternal Order of Police began recording this data,” said Yoes.