FORT MYERS, Fla. — The National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) reports that ambush-style attacks on officers are up 103% from last year (2020).
The FOP’s latest report says over the past year there have been 75 ambush-style attacks on officers.
Of those attacks, 93 officers were shot and 21 were killed.
The FOP says an ambush-style attack is defined as any time an officer is shot without warning or a chance to defend themselves.
Fox 4 spoke with Lieutenant Jason Pate of the Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) whose job is to train officers on all situations, including ambush attacks.
“Any call we go on, there is the potential to be ambushed,” said Pate.
Pate says preparing for the unpredictable requires unique training.
“We always try to bring in a scenario where there is something that surprises the officer, that something unusual happens with the officer. It might be, sitting down, having a meal while you (officer) are on duty, during firearms training, and then having a threat come out from behind something and you have to react to it,” said Pate.
Pate says not all training involves reacting in self-defense.
He says sometimes it’s about showing officers how to create a relationship with the people they serve.
“They see us as the uniform, the blue the badge, they don’t see us as people. And maybe if they can see us as people a little more often and we can get personal connection somebody may change their mind on doing that, may recognize us and go hey I knew that officer and he treated me fairly," said Pate.
It’s a lesson he gives to every officer and one that he says only takes a few minutes to accomplish.