Another member of law enforcement has been summarily executed in a shooting in New York City during Independence Day celebrations. Officer Miosotis Familia was in a large marked police vehicle, known as a mobile command post, on Wednesday when the suspect shot her once in the head. Officer Familia’s partner was in the vehicle when the attack occurred. This latest unprovoked attack on law enforcement marks a turning point, as data shows an uptick in line-of-duty deaths.
The non-profit National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund tracks line-of-duty deaths, which are down markedly since the 1970s. However, over the past few years the trend appears to be shifting in the wrong direction, with 64 fatal shootings in 2016 and 41 in 2015. So far this year 24 officers have been fatally shot; at this time last year that number was 22.
Accordingly, the National Rifle Association is launching the Back Our Blue initiative.
“Our country's law enforcement officers represent the best of American courage,” said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president. “Yet today, a deceitful media has put their courage under fire. It's time America honored its police again.”
As violence against police officers increases, the National Rifle Association chooses to “Back Our Blue.”The NRA is encouraging its membership and other supporters of law enforcement to utilize the hash tag #backourblue when sharing information about the program. This initiative has paid out more than $3 million dollars to the families of slain policemen and women raised through the donation of vehicles. The program’s former name was Cars for Freedom.
My father is a law enforcement officer and police chief, so I truly understand both sides of the issue of police safety and community engagement. It was just a year ago that five police officers were killed in a sniper attack in Dallas, Texas, as they protected citizens who were there to protest against them. This makes Back Our Blue even more important for the families left behind and communities that have to press on after these senseless killings.
The campaign is bolstered by radio and television spots showcasing the support that families of fallen officers receive from the NRA. The Line of Duty Death Benefit Program provides public police officers with a $35,000 line-of-duty death benefit payout that helps families financially cope during a devastating time of loss.
The campaign also supports the NRA Foundation’s Law Enforcement Training Program, which has trained more than 57,000 law enforcement firearms instructors. These instructors then go on to train thousands of security and police personnel yearly. Increased training means increased safety for officers and the communities they serve. According to the NRA, there are “over 13,000, active, certified, law enforcement firearm instructors.” These men and women are equipping our police forces with additional knowledge and training which benefits us all.
Additionally, NRATV will broadcast profiles of American law enforcement, exclusive interviews and videos, which can be shared online to promote a return to good relations with our policemen and women.
While some celebrities and public figures make a name for themselves by bashing law enforcement, the National Rifle Association is striking a different tone. The Back Our Blue initiative is a fantastic step towards supporting those who patrol our streets and neighborhoods around the clock.
The path forward can be one of reconciliation and better outcomes for every community if we seek unity even in the face of what appear to be insurmountable differences.
Stacy Washington is a decorated Air Force veteran, Emmy-nominated TV personality and host of nationally syndicated radio program “Stacy on the Right,” based in St. Louis. She loves God, guns, and is a member of the NRA, obviously.