By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona ranked second in the nation for most officers shot in 2022, falling just behind Texas and ahead of Georgia. There were over triple the number of officer shootings and deaths compared to last year.
According to the National Fraternal Order of Police’s (FOP) annual report, 21 Arizona officers were shot in the line of duty. Three were killed by gunfire:
Officer Adrian Lopez, Sr., White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department (EOW: June 2)
Sergeant Richard Lopez, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (EOW: June 28)
Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay, Pima County Constable’s Office (EOW: Aug. 25)
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent with a residence in Florida as well as Cochise County, Michel O. Maceda, was killed by gunfire last month during a drug bust off the coast of Puerto Rico. Maceda’s end of watch was on Nov. 17.
Last year, Arizona had six officers shot in the line of duty, and one was killed. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Michael Garbo was killed by gunfire last October.
While Arizona’s shooting incidents and deaths more than tripled compared to last year, the national totals declined. Nationwide, 2022 marked a slight decline from 2021: this past year 323 officers were shot, and 60 died by gunfire. In 2021, 346 officers were shot, and 63 died by gunfire. In 2020, 312 were shot, 47 died by gunfire. In 2019, 319 officers were shot, and 50 died by gunfire.
There have been a total of 87 ambush-style attacks on officers this year, resulting in 124 officers shot and 31 killed.
This increase in officer shootings and deaths conflicts with the decline in the state’s crime levels. According to Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) data, violent crimes have so far declined by 35.3 percent since last year: homicides are down 36 percent (72.8 percent with firearms), aggravated assaults are down 32.2 percent (30.3 percent with firearms), robberies are down by 44.7 percent (35.3 percent with firearms), and sexual assaults are down by 37.4 percent (less than 1 percent with a firearm).
This data may change by next month after participating agencies submit their crime reports for December.
The decline follows a three-year steady increase in crime rates. Last year, violent crimes increased by 3.6 percent from 2020. Homicides were up by 16.5 percent, (69 percent committed with a firearm); aggravated assaults were up by 2.7 percent (29 percent with firearms), robberies were up by 2 percent (28.8 percent with firearms), and sexual assaults were up by 11 percent (less than 1 percent with a firearm).
AZDPS’ past annual crime reports from 2006-2020 are available here.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to email@example.com.