Law enforcement union: Memorial wall filling too quickly
The threat of attacks on law enforcement officers in the U.S. is on the rise.
The number shot to death in the line of duty is up 78% this year compared to last year. That's according to a report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. As of July 20th, numbers show, half of this year's deaths involved a gun.
FOX 7 reported that also according to the report, Texas leads the U.S. when it comes to officers killed on the job. 14 in the state since January.
"In a very short time this wall is going to be filled up," says Charley Wilkison. He's head of the state's largest law enforcement union, C.L.E.A.T. They're in charge of putting the names on the Texas Peace Officers Memorial Monument. "The tough part for officers, even for myself is knowing someone who ends up on this wall. That's a very difficult thing."
The five Dallas officers ambushed during a protest in early July, as well as Travis County Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Craig Hutchinson who was shot and killed early Monday morning, just a few of the brave who will be honored for their service.
"We believe at the next engraving we'll be 1,969 and we aren't even all the way through the year," he says, adding, "if all of us in the Law Enforcement Association could change one thing in our career, it would be to lower the number of officers killed in the line of duty."
And he's worried that number will continue to grow.
"We need to focus on a lot of training and maybe now after the shootings in Dallas, people will listen to us when we say every officer needs active shooter training. That costs a lot of money."
Wilkison plans to ask for it. He, and other members of the law enforcement community are also going to lawmakers with changes to the "Open Carry" law. He says he's asking for them to help make a safer environment for the the public, and law enforcement.
"We'll ask them on the handguns, if there's some sort of way to add a license as some kind of emblem on the outside of a holster so the officer will know there's some kind of license handgun holder that had training."
That's just one of the ideas he's proposing.Others include: More education on how to safely hold on to the weapon if someone tries to steal it; that gun owners be held to the same standards that officers are when it comes to the ability to use the weapon safely; and for people who openly carry long guns, have a license visible. Especially, he says, so officers can tell whether or not that person is a threat to the public.
Wilkison also weighed in on Constitutional Carry, a measure proposed last session that would allow anyone to carry a gun, with or without a license. Supporters say they plan on pushing the measure again next session. Wilkison says that's "concerning to law enforcement" because if they respond to tense situation where everyone is armed and no one has a license it could create major problems.
FOX 7 reached out to supporters of that movement for them to weigh in, they did not respond to our request for comment.