Daily Dangers: A Look at the Number of Officers Assaulted on Duty

During National Police Week, we reflect upon the ultimate sacrifices law enforcement officers around this country have made in the line of duty. This year, we chose to remind our community of the significant dangers faced by our officers every day.  We feel it’s a story not widely shared publicly in law enforcement, and our community should understand it’s occurring all too often in policing today.

Last year there were 220 cases in Fairfax County alone where officers were assaulted while on duty. That number was up significantly from 2016 when there were 149 documented assaults on our officers. So far this year, there have been about 50 cases. While still a high number of assaults, it is fortunately lower than last year’s number at about this time. These cases include assaults on deputies from the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and officers from other jurisdictions who were assaulted while on duty in Fairfax County.

There are, unfortunately, numerous examples of violence. One of our officers was recently assaulted while on a traffic stop by a passenger who turned out to be both armed and wanted. He was also a convicted felon. After initially refusing to identify himself, the man provided his name and officers learned he had an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court. He resisted officers while being taken into custody, and swung his arms multiple times, striking an officer in the chest with his elbow. The man was charged with seven felony offenses including two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. He was also charged with two misdemeanor offenses.

Assaults on law enforcement officers can happen at any time in any setting. Here are just a few other examples of recent assaults on our officers:

  • May 2018 – Officers were taking a man to receive mental health treatment when he actively resisted and bit an officer on the arm, breaking the skin. The officer had minor injuries. The man was not charged with a crime as he needed mental health services.
  • April 2018 – Officers were called to a business for a report of two men shoplifting. They located the suspects nearby and were pushed away by one of the men as he attempted to run from them. Both suspects were caught and charged.
  • March 2018 – Officers were called to a hotel for a female trespassing on the property. After refusing several orders to leave the property, she was arrested and escorted from the hotel. The suspect attempted to pull away from officers and kicked an officer twice. She was charged with assault on a law enforcement officer.

The FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program report for 2017 has not yet been released, but the past few annual reports show an alarming increase in the number of assaults on law enforcement officers in the line of duty across the nation.

As we continue through 2018, we will continue to share summaries of some of our calls during which our officers were assaulted while doing their job. This information is pertinent to our department’s vision in preventing and fighting crime, preserving the sanctity of all human life, and keeping pace with urbanization.

For additional information about cases in which our officers were assaulted in the line of duty, please read our blog and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @FairfaxCountyPD. To learn more about LEOKA and the number of officers assaulted around the nation so far in 2018, visit https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka-resources.

Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers – Fairfax County (FCPD)  

Year Number of Assaults
2017 220
2016 149
2015 167
2014 160

 

Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers – Nationally (*from LEOKA reports)

 

Year Number of Assaults
2017 Data not yet available
2016 57,180
2015 50,212
2014 48,315