By Chris Wagoner:
The protesting of police shootings and police brutality has sky rocketed this year. I see news reports with groups wanting “justice for Freddie” or for the latest person shot by police. If you listen to the media, all they seem to focus on is police violence. You see so much news these days about police accused of, and sometimes even arrested for, various crimes resulting from acts of violence. Now, first let’s make something very clear, I am not saying that the police do not commit crimes, or that they do not commit police brutality. Let’s get that out of the way. I am sure they happen. But it is my contention that they are not an “epidemic” or a nationwide problem.
I say this because in 2012 there were about 313,910,000 citizens in the United States and 670,439 police officers. That meant there were about two police officers for every 1000 citizens. Sworn officers made up about .22% of the US population. During any given year officers come in contact with about 16.9% of the US population, with about 3.89% of those contacts resulting in arrests for something. Think about this… 670,439 cops made contact with more than 53, 050,790 citizens! Now this is for any reason from traffic stops to making reports, traffic accidents, anything. Of all the millions of contacts citizens had with police, only 26,000 complaints of excessive violence were made against police. Of those 26,000 complaints, only 2,080 were found to be sustained, meaning they were true or had some substance to them, or 0.0039% of all police contact resulted in a verified complaint regarding the use of excessive force.
Let’s put these numbers in perspective, during the same time, there were 84,376 rape reports, 30,800 traffic fatalities and 14,827 murders. In reality, you are seven times more likely to be murdered, fifteen times more likely to die in a car crash and forty-two times more likely to be raped. By putting these statistics into perspective, police brutality is not an epidemic. It actually does not happen very often and when it does it gets covered in the news quite well. What you don’t see are the reports on all the officers that are out there just doing their jobs and taking care of the people that are in their patrol areas.
Cops do not want to get in fights, trust me. They hurt, and the chances of being permanently injured on the job is greater than being killed. I can’t tell you all the times I went to the hospital after a violent arrest. One where the suspect, not myself, instigated the violence. Cops do not want to hurt anyone; they see enough of that from all the calls they go on. They see children abused and neglected, women raped, and people doing things to one another that would make a goat puke.
So, the next time you hear about the “police brutality epidemic” remember that they are talking about .0039% of all the interactions between police and citizens. I wonder what the percentage of cops hurt on calls is compared to that. Folks the cops are not the enemy. Are there bad cops? Of course, there are, but not like you are led to believe by the media.
Chris Wagoner is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran . He has been in law enforcement the last 35+ years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction, and is in charge of a large Police Academy in North Florida. In his spare time Chris is a freelance Military Reporter and owner/founder of the Largest Military Videos Channel on YouTube “3rdID8487”.