Officer fatalities on the rise

ATLANTA — A Clayton County sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed Wednesday, the latest victim in an increase in law enforcement deaths nationwide, according to a new report.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 98 officers were killed nationwide during the first six months of 2011 — a 14 percent increase over the same time period of 2010.

“The economy has forced reductions in training, safety equipment and personnel at law enforcement agencies across America,” NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd said in a news release. “These budget cuts have put our officers at greater risk, especially as they face a more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element and a continuing terrorist threat.”

In Clayton County on Wednesday, authorities arrested a 17-year-old, charging him with the shooting death of a veteran of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. The four Georgia lawmen killed to date in 2011 are:

  • Clayton County sheriff’s deputy (July 20)
  • Spalding County Sheriff Dee Stewart (July 3)
  • Athens-Clarke County Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christensen (March 22)
  • Heard County Sheriff’s Deputy Willie Amos Cammon (March 3)

“The number of family members impacted by line of duty law enforcement deaths increases each year,” declared C.O.P.S. National President Linda Moon-Gregory. “Correspondently, the number of families requesting assistance through their darkest days, and requesting assistance through C.O.P.S. grief healing retreats, has also increased. This gives C.O.P.S. a greater obligation and privilege to use our resources for our mission of ‘Rebuilding Shattered Lives,’” she said.

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