Now that we are a month into 2019, the statistics from 2018 are starting to roll in. The numbers are once again showing what we all already knew – that when it comes to using lethal force police officers in this country exercise extreme restraint.
Although the main stream media would have you believe that we are trigger-happy cops who look to be involved in a shooting every night, nothing could be further from the truth of that irresponsible and frankly hateful narrative. The Washington Post began keeping a database on officer-involved shootings a few years back. Every officer in the country should be thanking the Post because, although I do not believe it was their intended purpose, their database has shown just how great of a job United States law enforcement does every day.
So let’s dive in and look at the numbers!
There is anywhere from 800,000 to 900,000 law enforcement officers in this country. We roughly have 50 million, documented citizen contacts. This does not include the everyday encounters we have with citizens because clearly that would put this number in the hundreds of millions.
Of those nearly 50 million documented encounters there were 995 people shot and killed by the police. Of those 995 people, 948 were armed with a weapon – which means that American police officersry, roughly the 900,000 of them, who interacted with the public 50 million times last year, only shot and killed 47 unarmed people.
Now the activists and talking heads would cry how dare I say ONLY 47 people. But anyone who has strapped on a Sam Brown and vest knows just how dangerous people who are unarmed can be, especially when they are high on PCP or other unknown substances.
Now that the entire country has been covered, let’s take a look at Houston.
We in HPD average approximately two million documented citizen contacts per year. We average about 1.3-1.4 million calls for service and another 600,000 or so self-initiated. Of the nearly two million citizen contacts we made last year we had only 18 officer-involved shootings. The data shows that the overwhelming majority of these 18 events involved a suspect who was armed with some type of weapon.
To expand on that, last year we had about two million citizen contacts and had 15 officer-involved shootings. So, in the last two years the documentation shows we have interacted with the public four million times and only had 33 officer-involved shootings.
Please spare me the narrative that Houston police officers are trigger-happy and looking to hurt citizens. The hard statistics DO NOT SUPPORT IT!
The reason I chose to address this subject at this time – and I am not the only one; there are several law enforcement leaders speaking about it – is because we must combat the false narrative about our profession wherever it rears its ugly head.
We cannot afford to stay quiet and watch our honorable profession get dragged through the mud. We must speak out loudly when the news media tries to paint a negative picture of us. Our voice has been heard loud and clear in Houston on several occasions to expose harmful narratives and keep them from taking root in the community.
It is also the job of each and every one of you to arm yourself with the above information and engage people when you hear them spreading their lies and BS about us. Never miss an opportunity to educate someone – a citizen, a friend, family members, neighbors – whoever. We are the best spokespersons for our profession and we must speak up and provide the facts.
Those facts are clear: We do an amazing job every day out on these dangerous streets and the anti-police narrative is nothing but a farce concocted by activists and certain members of the media to increase ratings and sow discord.
I wanted to remind every member that if you have a dependent who is a graduating high school senior our annual HPOU scholarship application is now available. You can download a copy at hpou.org or pick up a hard copy here at 1600 State St. The application, essay and official transcripts are due by 4 p.m. Friday, March 1. Last year we gave out more than $50,000 in scholarships to approximately 105 talented young men and women. Don’t miss this opportunity to apply for additional funding for college.
What quickly became a signature event for Assist the Officer Foundation is their annual gala. As you know, ATO
provides much needed funds to officers and their families who are injured or, God forbid, killed in the line of duty. This year’s event will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 30 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. It promises to be bigger than last year’s first-ever Police Heroes Gala, so please go to assisttheofficer.com and purchase your tickets today.
As always, be safe out there and if you need anything I am only a phone call away, text (832-283-9492), or you can also reach me at the following: email (firstname.lastname@example.org), message on Facebook, DM on twitter (@JoeGamaldi).