HOWARD COUNTY, Ind. (March 21, 2016) – The faces of the nation’s fallen officers put into focus a deadly year for police officers in America.
Howard County Deputy Carl Koontz is the latest to join the list, but he’s likely not the last.
“It’s a reminder,” Howard County Sheriff Steven Rogers said Sunday when announcing Koontz’s death. “We live with that. We are willing to accept that.”
Nationwide the number of officers shot and killed in 2016 has skyrocketed, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, currently at 14. The organization, which tracks line of duty deaths, said that is a 250 percent increase from the same time last year.
“There certainly have been more documented, targeted attacks, ambush-style attacks,” Chris Cosgriff said, the organization’s executive director.
The statistic doesn’t take into account officers who are shot at and survive.
Late Sunday night in Indiana alone, suspects shot at officers in both Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. And a University of Indianapolis graduate Tim Jones, an officer in Park Forest, Illinois, is fighting for his life after being shot over the weekend in the Chicago suburb.
“Attacking law enforcement officers simply because they wear the badge, it’s becoming very disturbing,” Cosgriff said.
Gov. Mike Pence addressed the dangers Indiana law enforcement face.
“We’ve ordered flags be lowered all across the state of Indiana, not only in recognition of the sacrifice of Deputy Carl Koontz,” Pence said. “But also in recognition of the risks that all our law enforcement officers and their families face every day.”