Law deaths highest in a decade - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Law deaths highest in a decade

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December 28, 2007

Albany --  2007 was the deadliest year for American law enforcement in more than a decade.  The number of officers killed in traffic wrecks and shootings saw double digit spikes. 

This year in Albany, Paramedic and private security officer Jack Camp was murdered at his apartment complex, but it's been nearly 20 years since an officer in Dougherty County was killed in the line of duty. 

Officers say all they can do is try to minimize the risk every day. 186 police officers died this year nationwide.  That's the most since 1989.  Traffic deaths and shootings were the leading causes.  It's why Albany Police training officers encourage officers to prepare mentally on their way to the office.

"You've got to understand we're all human, but we need to leave home at home and prepare ourselves on the way to work for what could happen," says APD Training Officer Sgt. Bryan Lavoie.

It's been 19 years since the Dougherty County Sheriff's office lost Lieutenant Albert Clark and Captain Tommy Williamson in a traffic crash, and 28 years since Albany Police Officer Randy Brown was shot and killed responding to a robbery.  Dougherty County Police have never lost an officer while on duty.

"Every time you go on any call or get in the car safety's always a constant issue that we try to get all our officers to stress," Dougherty County Police Lt. M.J. Wood.

On the job, officers must be vigilant, never letting their guard down.  A frightening reminder came earlier this year with the shooting death of paramedic, fugitive recovery agent, and security guard Jack Camp. 

"It was a tremendous shock, Jack was a very cautious person, he was the one who trained me and for him to get caught off guard like that, it was a big shock," said Chuck Mitchell the Head of Security for Palmyra Hospital.

It's why Albany Police have strengthened their training programs, making officers more aware of the tools that could save their lives.

"We teach each other or refresh each other on defensive tactics the use of our batons, the use of their OCS spray and what's really important is we go over the vehicle, we're starting a defensive driving class because we drive the cars all the time and that's a dangerous tool," said Lavoie.

While many officers say the best training comes on the job, going into any situation, they say you have to ready for the worst and  prepared for anything that could come your way.  
 
So far there have been 13 Homicides in Albany this year-- nearly twice last year's number, and the most in the last five years.

  • Click here for the national law enforcement fatality statistics



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