Louisiana ranks 2nd deadliest state for officers killed in line of duty

Louisiana ranks 2nd deadliest state for officers killed in line of duty

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana now ranks the second deadliest state in the country for officers killed in the line of duty.

So far this year, there have been eight officers killed on the job, according to Officers Down Memorial Page's Executive Director Chris Cosgriff.

Sr. Trooper Steven Vincent from Lake Charles died Monday after he was shot Sunday afternoon. He died just two weeks after Shreveport Officer Thomas LaValley was laid to rest in his hometown of St. Amant, who also died on the job.

"Currently in Louisiana, there's been sort of a spike in law enforcement deaths in comparison to the last years," said Cosgriff.

Across the country, 78 officers have been killed so far this year. Texas leads the country with nine officers killed in the line of duty. Louisiana has had eight while Mississippi and Georgia have had five officers killed in each state just this year.

"It's a compelling number. It's a disturbing number," said Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson.

Col. Edmonson had a black ribbon on his badge in honor of his fallen senior trooper.

"When we lose somebody, when anything happens to touch any part of a department, it affects everybody. I feel it," said Col. Edmonson. "It touches every bone in my body. I feel and hurt for anytime there's a police officer whether it's here in this area, in this state or across the country."

Col. Edmonson said it's all about de-escalating the situation, but he said given the current circumstances, all officers must be alert at all times.

"There's no such thing as a routine traffic stop. There's no such thing as just encountering someone and always acting the same. You've got to watch a person's body language. That will tell you a lot," said Col. Edmonson.

Over the past five years, the number of officers killed in Louisiana has increased. In 2011, there were only 3 officers killed the entire year, and there were four officers killed each year in 2014, 2013 and 2012.

But Cosgriff said the national trend is the opposite.

"This year, the line of duty deaths nationwide is actually 5 percent lower than last year and gunfire line of duty deaths are approximately 25 percent lower than at the same time last year," said Cosgriff.

Cosgriff said there's no specific reason he can pinpoint that's causing the increased officer deaths in Louisiana, but said he's very appreciative for the citizens in Lake Charles stepping up to help a fallen trooper.

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