FBI data shows increasing trend of felonious police killings, local sheriff weighs in

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:44 PM EDT
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GRAFTON, W.Va (WDTV) - FBI data shows 2023 is trending towards a decade-high of police killings.

At Tuesday’s Memorial for Fallen Law Enforcement, FBI Criminal Justice Information Service Assistant Director Michael Christman noted an alarming trend.

Christman says so far this year, 24 officers have been feloniously killed across the U.S. compared to 20 this time last year. He says this year is trending more with 2021, which was a 20-year high with 73 officers feloniously killed.

“Particularly today, where you have some unprecedented difficulties with the profession not everyone’s a fan of law enforcement,” said Christman. “So it’s a rather troubling trend.”

Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin says he sees videos of people harassing officers online growing in popularity.

Austin says that plays a part in the way people see law enforcement today.

“It doesn’t have to be in a large city it’s right here in these small communities, the threat is there, and these officers put their lives on the line every day to try and keep these people safe,” said Austin.

Austin says drugs are also playing a larger role in creating danger for police.

“Things these people will do, that they would normally never do, but because of the drugs -- they don’t have any respect for their life or anyone else’s life,” said Austin.

Austin says his department and others train with special organizations to keep their skills sharp in dangerous situations.

FBI CJIS Section Chief Scott Schubert says they’re encouraging more police to access databases like the violent person’s file.

“Trying to promote the violent person’s file to help officers when they pull people over -- if that person has posed a threat to law enforcement or others in the past,” said Schubert. “Everything we do is geared toward keeping them informed giving them the information they need for investigation and more importantly keeping them safe.”