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On-Duty Police Deaths On The Rise

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A biannual report shows that 67 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty nationally during the first half of this year. That’s an eight percent increase from the same period last year. 

The recent ambush attack that killed five Dallas police officers contributed to a spike in deaths of on-duty police officers nationwide. The increase comes against a backdrop of high tension in some cities after high-profile, police-involved shootings. Craig Floyd with the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund said for safer communities, people need to work with law enforcement.  

"Law enforcement is clearly focused on the top priority – which is where trust has been lost, to restore that trust, to strengthen the partnership between law enforcement and the citizens that they serve," Floyd said.

Despite the rise in deaths in the first half of the year, fatalities have steadily declined in the U.S. in the past four decades, according to the report. Only one Utah officer, 45-year-old Douglas Barney, has died in the line of duty in 2016. He was killed in January in a shootout with a hit-and-run suspect in a suburb of Salt Lake City.

Floyd said he believes the National Law Enforcement Museum, which is being built in Washington D.C. will help bridge the gap between police and community leaders.

"Together with these discussions that will occur there, with the learning that will occur in that museum, we'll do better as a profession, working with the community to keep America safe," Floyd said.

Nationally, the report says 14 of the officers fatally shot were victims of ambush-style attacks.