POLICE safety is rising as a concern in an era when a law enforcement officer is killed somewhere in the United States every 52 hours.
This week's shooting at the police headquarters in Washington, D.C., underscores the need for greater security at police stations in particular.
Two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and one city detective were killed when a man with an automatic weapon opened fire on the third floor of the police headquarters. Several others were wounded. Not since 1917 have so many officers died of violence at a police station.
``Violence against the law enforcement community is increasing,'' says Susan Lloyd, spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office.
``The bad guys are getting bolder and badder,'' she says. ``There is an increasing disregard for human life.''
Security, though, is not the only problem, aruges Donald Baldwin, executive director of the National Law Enforcement Council. ``Here's the city with the strongest gun-control laws in the United States,'' he says. ``You can't even own a gun here. The problem is lax enforcement of laws. The District of Columbia is a revolving door, where gun laws are not applied as they should be.''
Of the 13,500 police deaths on record in the United States, only 38 have occured as a result of assaults on police stations, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. In the past 10 years, an average of 167 officers have died each year.