I have just started researching incident #13 in my study of 2012 line-of-duty deaths, which is the murder of Denver Police Officer Celena Hollis. She was shot and killed at a jazz festival when she intervened in a fight.
Another tragedy for the community of law enforcement. However, this is no typical murder. Let's take a minute to look at the statistics. As of June 2012, 25% of the officers killed by gunfire are female officers. Yet, female officers only account for about 12% of police officers nationwide, so they are seeing major over-representation in this year's line of duty deaths due to firearms. Why is this happening?
Those of you who know me will know that I have great respect for women who serve in law enforcement. As a former police officer myself, I understand the very real risks of working in the field and the antagonism and adversity female officers can face from their colleagues, supervisors and families. Women police can be great patrol assets because of their ability to talk suspects into custody, their skills in collaborating (rather than competing) with others and their tenacity is legendary. Women make outstanding cops and are well-known for their ability to do the job as well as men.
This is what is puzzling to me. Last year, I only had two female officers in my study: Deputy Suzanne Hopper and Detective Amanda Haworth. This year so far: Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, Corporal Sandy Rogers, Deputy Barbara Pill, and Officer Celena Hollis. Why is there such a dramatic increase in the line-of-duty deaths of female officers in 2012? Or is it just a coincidence that has nothing to do with gender?