Fatal Force

Staff Writer: Alexandria Weaver

Nearly all professions where your life is in their hands, i.e. lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, etc., require multiple degrees before they’re allowed to practice in that field.  All but one; law enforcement.


A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practices medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Photo Courtesy: chicagomag.com


According to study.com, there is a six-step requirement to become a doctor: earning a bachelor’s degree, taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), earning a medical degree, completing a residency program (three to seven years), obtaining licensure (all states require physicians to become licensed before they are allowed to practice medicine) and getting certified to advance your career.


A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor at law, solicitor, or public servant preparing, interpreting and/or applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Photo Courtesy: law.com

Referring to learnhowtobecome.org, there are six requirements to becoming a lawyer: completing a bachelor’s degree program, passing the law school admissions test, identifying law schools and completing applications, earning a juris doctor degree, passing the bar examination and advancing your career by working closely with seasoned lawyers as associates.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing people who violate the rules and norms governing that society. Photo Courtesy: ohioattorneygeneral.gov

Conversely, reported by learnhowtobecome.org, you must only: obtain a high school diploma or GED, meet other minimum requirements (U.S. citizen, valid driver’s license, at least 18 or 21, clean criminal record), obtain a bachelor’s degree (optional), pass the law enforcement entrance exam and graduate from the police academy to become a police officer.


A cosmetologist is someone who is an expert in the care of hair and makeup as well as skincare and beauty products. They can also offer other services such as coloring, extensions, perms and straightening. Photo Courtesy: icoc.edu

Statistics show that the amount of time obligated to complete academy training averages 21 weeks, or 840 hours. Comparatively these are the hours required to finish training for professions that are less severe in consequence: cosmetologist- 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours; esthetician- 1500 hours or 3000 apprenticeship hours; nail technician- 750 hours or 1200 apprenticeship hours.

Could this be the reason for the numerous amounts of fatal shootings that occur every year?

2017 death toll

The death toll in 2017 was 987 persons, 24 more persons than in 2016. Photo Courtesy: washingtonpost.com

According to The Washington Post, in 2017 alone, there were 987 people shot and killed by police officers. More than a third (326) of the people killed were under the age of 30. In 2017, of the 987 incidents, in 886 of them the officer wasn’t wearing a body camera; 597 of the victims were not fleeing the scene; 68 of the victims were unarmed; 236 of the victims had a mental illness.

death toll graph

The death count in Sept. by year: 2015- 82, 2016- 78, 2017- 70, 2018- 43. Photo Courtesy: washingtonpost.com

In the first nine months of 2018, 732 people have had their lives taken due to an officer in law enforcement. That is approximately 81 people per month. If that average remains constant, that will mean that there will be another 243 people that will have their lives taken before the end of the year.

Writer’s Note: While writing this article the death toll went from 703 at the beginning of the month to 732 by the time this article was posted.

As stated by CNN.com, between 2005 and April 2017, 80 officers have been arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings. Thirty-five percent of them were convicted of those charges. The rest were pending or not convicted.

On the other hand, data released by the Officer Down Memorial Page stated that 135 officers died in the line of duty in 2017. Forty-five officers died due to gunfire. Twenty-eight died due to automobile crashes. Fourteen lost their lives due to a heart attack. Other causes of death include 9/11 related illnesses, assault and vehicular pursuit/assault.

line of duty deaths

Line of duty deaths (LODDs) by year. Photo Courtesy: odmp.org

In 2018, there have been 105 line of duty deaths. Forty or, 37 percent, officers’ lives were claimed by gunfire. There have been 35 or, 32 percent, auto related deaths.

The FBI stated that an average of 64 law enforcement officials were killed per year between 1980 and 2014.

There is a painstakingly obvious bias in the difference of deaths between citizens killed by officers and officers that have lost their lives in the line of duty. The question is should police officers be required to have more education in the areas of law, law enforcement and the environment of their jurisdiction before they are authorized to work? Does the amount of training law enforcement officials receive correlate to the data addressed above?

Is the problem the level of education and training received or is the problem some of the people who decide to become police officers?

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