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'An attack on a police officer is an attack on all of us' | Public safety expert on increase in crime against cops

Following the shooting of an Atlanta police officer on Monday, Former Dekalb County Public Safety Chief Dr. Cedric Alexander has come forward.

ATLANTA — After an Atlanta Police Officer was shot in the line of duty Monday, APD Deputy Chief Darin Schierbaum said cops across the U.S. are seeing a surge in crime against them.

"What you saw today in Atlanta is what you would see across the country. You saw an officer get injured, a good officer, doing his or her job, the way they were trained to do it," Dr. Cedric Alexander, the former Public Safety Chief in Dekalb County, told 11Alive's Kaitlyn Ross. 

He says he's alarmed by the increase in attacks against police officers in America. The officer shot in Atlanta Monday survived, but he said many police officers don't.

"This is a serious issue and we certainly have seen an uptick in police officer injury and death," he said. 

Crime Data from the FBI backs that up, showing a sharp increase in the intentional homicide of police officers from 2020-2021, the most recent comparable data. 

There was a nearly 59% jump, with 73 officers intentionally killed on the job last year. That's more than any year since 1995 in the US. 

Dr. Alexander says that's a sobering statistic for people who wear the badge. 

"We cannot abandon our police, we cannot separate ourselves from them. We can reform policing, but still fight crime at the same time. But it absolutely requires community support," he said. 

Dr. Alexander supports police reform, but says it can't come at the expense of the safety of officers doing their job. 

"Any attack on police officers across this country is an attack on all of us. Because if someone feels emboldened enough to hurt a sworn peace officer whose job it is to protect all people, and they themselves are injured or killed, it certainly should be an affront to all of us,' he said. 

He says too many repeat offenders are being released from jail on low bond or given signature bonds for violent offenses. 

"We have to have a criminal justice system that's working closely with our law enforcement that when these dangerous criminals are apprehended, that they remain incarcerated until their trials," he said. 

He says he's grateful the suspect in the shooting Monday is now in custody and hopes the officer will be back on patrol soon. 

"What is helpful to police officers in Atlanta and across the country is community support. Letting them know, that even in a very difficult time like this, with an officer shot, that the community will forge together," he said.

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