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Shooting deaths of police up 78 percent this year

The number of U.S. law enforcement officers shot dead on the job is up 78 percent this year compared with the same period last year, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In the wake of targeted attacks on police officers this summer in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the analysis of law enforcement deaths across the country shows that the 32 firearms-related deaths recorded as of July 20 account for nearly half of the 67 line-of-duty deaths reported by police agencies, with ambushes comprising 14 of the fatal shootings.

The fatalities are still well below the rates of officer deaths in the 1970s, when the number of firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973 with 156 officers. But Craig W. Floyd, president of the nonprofit officers memorial fund, called the rapid uptick this year “extremely troubling.”

“In the 1970s, you had a lot of parallels to what we are facing now. There was a lot of anti-authority sentiment and a lot of anti-police sentiment,” said Mr. Floyd, whose group maintains the national monument to fallen officers in Washington and keeps statistics on officer deaths. “They did become targets, just as they are becoming targets again today.”

Over the past decade, the number of officers fatally shot has averaged 52 a year. Firearms-related deaths reached their lowest point since the 1880s in 2013, when 33 officers were fatally shot, according to data from the officers memorial fund.

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