Ohio police officer killed. Are police shootings on the rise?
Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was found dead early Monday. A suspect is in custody. Are police shootings on the rise?
Mount Vernon, Ohio — A police officer has been found dead behind the municipal building in Danville, Ohio, and a suspect is in custody, authorities said Monday.
Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer says in a statement early Monday that authorities received a call just before midnight from a woman saying that police officers in Danville were in danger, and that her ex-boyfriend, Herschel Ray Jones, had weapons and was looking to kill an officer.
Shaffer says dispatchers tried to make contact with the Danville officer, but were unsuccessful. The Knox County Sheriff's Office then searched the village.
About 20 minutes after the initial call to dispatchers, Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was found dead on the ground behind the Danville Municipal Building and his service weapon had been taken, Shaffer said.
Local media reported that Cottrell's police vehicle had been stolen too.
Officials did not immediately say how the officer died.
Just after 1:30 a.m., Jones was seen running from a home and was captured near Danville Park after a short foot chase, officials said.
Chief Jim Gilbert, the chief deputy of the Franklin County Sheriff's office in Ohio, tweeted early Monday: "Prayers for Ohio's first fallen officer for 2016 a Danville PD Officer was shot/killed this evening in Knox County. "
The police department employs six people and Chief Daniel J. Weckesser was appointed to the job on January 4. Danville is located about 60 miles northeast of Columbus and 100 miles southeast of Cleveland.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident with the help of the Ohio Bureau of Investigatio
It has been a troubling year for law enforcement, as The Christian Science Monitor has reported. The profession has faced both higher scrutiny over officers' use of lethal force, as well as a series of high-profile fatal ambush attacks against police, including killings in Houston and New York.
This has left police departments across the nation feeling more vulnerable to attacks against their officers, with some calling for crimes against law enforcement to be prosecuted as hate crimes.
The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), an advocacy organization for police officers, has been characterizing recent lethal attacks on police as part of a broader national crisis, calling for hate crime protection for police officers.
"In the last few years, ambush attacks aimed to kill or injure law enforcement officers have risen dramatically," said FOP National President Chuck Canterbury, according to the New York Daily News. "All of theseofficers died because of the uniforms they were wearing."
But according to a website that keeps track of police officer deaths, Officer Down Memorial Page, line of duty deaths have actually declined in the last decade. Over the past 10 years, an average of 157 officers have been killed on the job. With one month left in the year, 2015 is on track to be the second least deadly year for police officers for decades.