HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — A string of violent crimes over the past week left six officers wounded and tragically, two of them died.
“It has just been a horrible week for law enforcement here in Harris County," says Douglas Griffith who is the Houston Police Officers’ Union President.
It's indicative of a wider trend he says.
“Unfortunately we’re going the way of the rest of the nation with officers being assaulted, attacked and murdered,” said Griffith.
According to statistics from the FBI’s Crime Data Explorers, 73 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2021 – a 58.7% increase compared to the 46 officers killed in 2020 and the highest total since 2011.
“It makes me fearful because when you have numbers like that, that are increasing at that rate, you know it’s not going down at any time soon," Griffith said.
A major reason, he says, is that offenders are getting back out on the street.
“They’re violent individuals – they need to be locked away. And right now our courts are failing to do that. They let people out on bonds, low bonds, no bonds and you see what happens," says Griffith.
Law enforcement, Griffith says, needs the public’s help and support, especially at this difficult time.
“Look, we all understand that law enforcement – it’s a dangerous job – we understand it. All we’re asking for is the public to have our backs out there,” Griffith said.
And he says public support will play a major factor in law enforcement staffing.
“We have officers leaving our department because they say, ‘You what? I’ve had enough. I’m out,'" Griffith said. “We are in an era now where we are going to have a very difficult time getting people to become law enforcement officers."
The violence of the past week, Griffith says, highlights the dangers police face every day.
“We are that thin blue line that protects the citizens of this country. We protect the citizens of Houston and Harris County and we will continue to do that job because that is our calling," said Griffith.
Mayor Turner announced after Thursday's shootout in which three HPD officers were shot that he would be unfolding new initiatives this upcoming week to combat crime.
To help the officers affected by last week's violence and their families you can visit assisttheofficer.com.