LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A new report released by the Fraternal Order of Police shows a disturbing rise in the number of law enforcement officers shot while on duty nationwide.
According to the report, 378 officers were shot in the line of duty in 2023, a 60% increase from 2018 when 237 officers were shot. California was the state with the third-highest number shot, 22 officers.
"It's an alarming report no matter how you shake it out," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.
One of his deputies, Ryan Clinkunbroomer, was shot and killed while driving a patrol car last September. "It hurts. It hurts us as a family, the department. We will never get over that."
Law enforcement officials attribute the steep rise in attacks against officers to the rapid growth of anti-police rhetoric online.
"There are individuals very upset with law enforcement that create websites, a kind of a call to arms, release officers' identities and addresses," said Donald Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI in Los Angeles. "Swatting events are very much on the rise, as well as doxing and things like that."
Sheriff Luna says the attacks on officers is one reason law enforcement agencies are having a hard time finding new deputies.
"We're down approximately 1,200 deputies," Luna told Eyewitness News. "And when I talk to my partner over at LAPD, Mike Moore, he's seeing the same numbers."
The Los Angeles Police Protective League puts some of the blame on our criminal justice system and the way it prosecutes many of its cases.
"Lawlessness and gun violence must be dealt with sternly," said Debbie Thomas with the police union. "Those that commit a crime with a gun should go to jail and not some diversion program and then be back out on the street again."
One encouraging statistic in the new report is that more officers appear to be surviving shootings - the number of fatalities in those numbers is at its lowest point in at least five years.