Fatal shootings of police on the rise in Middle Georgia, activists call for support
Forsyth, Ga. -- Statistics show a rise in the number of law enforcement officers killed by gunfire this year in Georgia.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Georgia has seen eight officers killed in the line of duty this year. There were also eight law enforcement deaths in the line of duty in 2015, but only one of those was from gunfire.
This year six out of the eight deaths were from gunfire.
“So we’ve definitely seen a rise in gunfire related deaths in law enforcement in the state of Georgia in the last year,” said Chad Wallace, founder and CEO of Team Blue Line, a non-profit that raises money for families of officers who were killed or severely wounded in the line of duty.
Wallace has worked in law enforcement himself for 14 years.
“It is in the back of their mind when I go out here or if I’m on a traffic stop or if I serve this warrant, what’s going to happen, but that’s the mentality of law enforcement that’s our job,” Wallace said.
That fear and anxiety can be even worse though for the families of law enforcement.
Chad's wife Sara says all the recent deaths of officers by gunfire only heightens that fear for their loved ones.
“Absolutely, it absolutely does. And a lot of times when you don’t get a phone call back you call and they don’t answer and you can’t help but think your mind goes to somewhere 'is everything okay?'” Sara said.
Sara says often people will offer a lot of attention and support to families impacted by violence against police at the start, but she says the family still needs support going forward.
“Initially when the event happens there’s a lot of support and people checking on them but it’s the month or the two months or the three months after checking in, birthdays happen all the firsts happen, so just being there the best way that you can but sometimes it’s just a simple phone call or a text but just letting them know you care for them and support them,” Sara said.
Wallace says if you're concerned about the recent rise in shootings of police officers, do something about it.
“Also get a chance to go by local departments, take cards, and officers love baked goods and just get involved you know.” Wallace said.