• 72°

Editorial: Lower toll still too high

While it’s welcome news that 2008 was one of the safest years in decades for law-enforcement officers, the fact that 140 officers died in the line of duty stands as somber testimony to the dangers that public safety officers confront as they work to keep their communities safe.
Earlier this year, the Salisbury Millwork Fire brought that home regarding the risks for firefighters. We can give thanks that Rowan County did not record a police officer’s death this year and that nationwide law-enforcement fatalities showed a sharp drop (from 181 in 2007). But officers continue to face many forms of peril, and the 2008 statistics, including four deaths in North Carolina, reflect that reality: For the 11th year in a row, traffic accidents claimed the most officers, 71 ó 44 in car crashes, 10 in motorcycle accidents and 17 struck by vehicles. Weapons fire killed 41 officers. Seventeen officers succumbed to job-related physical illnesses, three died in aircraft accidents, two were stabbed, two died in bomb-related incidents, and one each was beaten to death, drowned, accidentally electrocuted and died in a train accident, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Safety experts attribute this year’s lower toll in part to better training and equipment, including more effective protective vests and wider use of stun guns that enable officers to subdue violent suspects before taking them into custody. The results underscore the importance of providing police and other public-safety workers with up-to-date gear and other resources that may help save their lives, as well as ours, whether it’s Kevlar vests or reliable communications equipment.
Still, even with such improvements and a notable reduction in fatalities, this year’s toll reflects enormous losses for the officers’ families and for the communities they served. These numbers should make us all more aware of the inherent risks law-enforcement officers face and the sacrifices they make ó and more appreciative that they’re on the job.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

Rowan County’s COVID-19 death toll tops 40 for September

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 24

Coronavirus

Crowd turns out to raise money for hospitalized sheriff’s deputy

Coronavirus

COVID-19 death tally continues rising, now at 391 in Rowan County

Crime

‘No winners’: Mason found guilty in fish arcade murder trial

Local

Dixonville task force working to engrave names, quotes at cemetery

Coronavirus

Stage set for COVID-19 booster shots

News

Family finds unknown woman’s body in mother’s casket

Coronavirus

A third of workers in Cooper order not vaccinated

Nation/World

Remains of WWII soldier from North Carolina identified, will be buried in Robeson County

High School

State officials reach deal on prep sports governing, but details remain to be worked out

BREAKING NEWS

Mason found guilty in deadly fish arcade shooting

Crime

Blotter: Men stripped, robbed en route to buy beer

Crime

Jury begins deliberations in Fishzilla murder case

Education

East Rowan culinary students feed staff who helped build new classroom

Local Events

Rowan County Fair makes pandemic return Friday with COVID-19 protocols in place

Education

Education briefs: Schultz selected to NCDPI’s Teacher Leadership Council

Education

Catawba to induct six into Blue Masque Hall of Fame

Education

Cavs After Hours: A new tutoring space at North Rowan

Education

Shoutouts

Crime

Salisbury Police: Toyota Prius is most popular target for catalytic converter thieves

News

Salisbury City Council will vote on whether to exempt Goodwill developer from setback requirements

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office holding fundraiser for deputy hospitalized with COVID-19

Nation/World

FDA backs Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for seniors, high-risk