December 27, 2011
In what has become an alarming trend across America, assaults on law enforcement personnel continues to increase. As such, 2011 will be marked as one of the worst years in law enforcement history. Sadly, officers being injured or killed in the line of duty while confronting violent subjects have become common place and regularly played out in the American media.
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, as of December 26, 2011, Nationwide 174 police officers have lost their lives. The deaths represent an increase of 15% from last year – in 2010 deaths totaled 151 http://www.nleomf.com/facts/officer-fatalities-data.
Nationwide officer fatalities resulting from the use of firearms have also risen by 18% – from 55 in 2010 to 65 officers killed in 2011. In what is even more concerning, according to CBS News during the first four months of 2011, officers killed by gunfire rose by 44% from the previous year http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/04/11/eveningnews/main20052911.shtml.
Looking back at 2011 reveals violent criminals started taking the lives of police officers just hours into the New Year. On January 1, 2011, Clark County, Ohio Deputy Suzanne Hopper was critically shot by a subject with a shotgun while conducting an investigating of shots being fired. Before being killed by responding police, the violent subject shot a second officer with the same shotgun.
Following Deputy Hopper’s death, the next 19 days of January were met with the on-duty deaths of seven additional officers across the US.
Closer to home, on January 20, 2011, Miami-Dade Police Detectives Roger Castillo and Amanda Haworth were killed in the Liberty City section of Miami. The veteran Detectives were ambushed and shot down while attempting to arrest a subject for murder. During the horrific encounter a third officer was injured before the violent career criminal was killed by a fourth detective on the scene.
Detective Castillo, a 41 year old married father of three, was pronounced dead on the scene. While 44 year old Detective Haworth passed away as surgeons tried to save her life. She was survived by her life companion and child.
Inexplicably, during the 24 hours that followed eleven officers in five states were shot. Marking that period as one of the bloodiest in recent history. The month of January ended with 18 officers across the US being killed.
In Florida fourteen officers have died while on-duty during the 2011 calendar year. The last one occurring yesterday, with the death of Seminole County Deputy Sheriff Matt Miller. As an example of the hazards that extend beyond the assaults of criminal offenders, Deputy Miller lost his life while on patrol after his motorcycle was struck by a SUV.
List of all officers killed in 2011 – http://www.odmp.org/search/year
Along with facing increased violence on the streets law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and the majority of public employees in 2011 saw the security of their jobs, benefits cut, and political power of their labor unions, used to protect its members, threatened by the political ideology of Governor Rick Scott and his legislative majority supporters.
With the legislative session set to start on January 10, 2012, and an estimated $2 billion Dollar budget shortfall, stalled economy and a refusal by the governor to close corporate tax loopholes and/or raise taxes on the wealthy law enforcement personnel, like all other public employees, are left with the fear of added cuts.
Florida Public Employees stands committed in working to protect the safety and interests of our Brothers and Sisters who serve and protect by continuing to educate, advocate, and unite the over 1.6 million public employees in Florida. Through unity, we seek to expose and oppose those who support or sponsor legislation that unjustly places the safety of public employees in jeopardy or otherwise attacks them, their labor unions, or seek to balance budgets on the backs of working class Floridians.
We further stand committed to working with and supporting any and all elected officials and candidates willing to focus on creating long-term solutions in the best interests of all Floridians, not just big corporations or the elite rich
As a partnership of public employee unity, we pledge to seek the creation or support of fair economy initiatives, jobs creation Bills, business revitalizations plans, adequate government services funding, and legislation that closes corporate state tax loopholes for the purpose of generating state revenue.
Robert Asencio, President
Florida Public Employees
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