Officer-Involved Shootings In Oklahoma On The Rise In 2015 - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |


Officer-Involved Shootings In Oklahoma On The Rise In 2015

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A trend is on the rise in Oklahoma, but it may not be one law enforcement is happy about.

New numbers from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, The Guardian and the Tulsa World newspapers all showing 2015 could have one of the highest number of officer involved shootings in the last 10 years. 

According to the statistics, Oklahoma officers have fired their weapons 26 times so far in 2015.

The total outpaces 2014 with 24 shootings and more than doubles the number from 2005.

The new numbers are only through the first nine months of what has shaped up to be a volatile 2015 for public opinion on law enforcement.

“It doesn't really have anything to do with the officers because we only react to the threat presented to us,” said John George, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Oklahoma City.

George said he can't explain the rise in shootings, but thinks the current climate towards police officers does play a part. Something the American Civil Liberties Union agrees with.

“We are seeing a perfect storm for police shootings and that perfect storm, unfortunately, much of it is very hard to deal with because it's not about what police are doing,” ACLU Oklahoma legal director Brady Henderson said.

He said there are problems with police training and a lack of policies when it comes to non-lethal force options, but he added there was a more important need to address root causes like poverty and poor mental healthcare in the community. All factors experts agree play into an anti-police sentiment that has bubbled over into the mainstream.

“Officers don't want to get involved with shootings. No matter what anyone else thinks, officers don't come into work thinking ‘I want to get into a shooting today.’ In fact, that's the last thing they want to do,” George said. 

Despite rhetoric of groups on both sides of the debate, 2015 is shaping up to be one of the safest years to be a police officer.

Current statistics from the Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, the number of police deaths in 2015 have risen 9 percent, or from 80 to 87 deaths since January 1. However, the number of shooting deaths has dropped 22 percent. It’s follows a national trend that’s seen a decrease in violence against police since the crime waves of the 1970s.

In Oklahoma, a single officer was killed in the line of duty so far in 2015, which falls within the average across the state. Texas leads the nation in officer deaths with seven.

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