Fighting crime can be dangerous

An incident in Steubenville just a few weeks ago offers a reminder of just how dangerous police work can be.

Thankfully, neither of the two city officers was injured, or worse, killed when they became involved in a shootout with a robbery suspect.

Sadly, other area officers have lost their lives while serving our communities, and they will be remembered at 9 a.m. Friday when the annual police memorial service is held at the flagpole at Historic Fort Steuben. The ceremony will offer the opportunity to remember the sacrifices of the six Steubenville officers, two Mingo Junction officers and one Toronto officer who have been killed in the line of duty.

The service offers a chance to remember, but, more important, it offers a chance to reflect on the risks that go hand-in-hand with law enforcement. According to the National law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one officer is killed in the line of duty in the United States every 57 hours, and, since the first known line-of-duty death in 1791, more than 19,000 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed.

Last year, 120 officers died in the line of duty, and their names, plus the names of the 201 officers who died in previous years, will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Of the 120 officers who lost their lives last year, 49 were shot to death, 26 died in auto accidents, 14 died after being struck by a vehicle, eight died of job-related illnesses, seven died in motorcycle crashes, five died as a result of stabbing, four died in falls, three died as a result of aircraft accidents, two were beaten to death, and one each were killed in a boating accident and a horse-related accident. Of the fallen officers, 12 were female.

Since the first numbers were recorded, Texas has lost 1,653 officers in the line of duty, the most of any state. In our region, Ohio has lost 767 officers, Pennsylvania has lost 738 officers and West Virginia has lost 168 officers.

We hope everyone will take a moment to remember the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who work to enforce our laws and keep our communities safe.