COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - 2016 was a terrible year for police officers in Georgia.
Seven officers lost their lives this year in the Peach State, most while serving fugitive warrants or responding to domestic disturbances.
As we prepare to start a new year, it's worth remembering those fine officers and commending them for the valor they showed, when the suspects they sought to stop or question or help turned a gun on them and took their lives.
Just last week, the Georgia bureau of Investigation released an edited version of the body-cam video taken by Americus police officer Nicholas Smarr who was chasing a suspect involved in a domestic dispute when he lost his life. Later, the same suspect killed his friend, Officer Jody Smith.
Five other officers were killed in Georgia this year.
Add to those, there were police officer deaths in Dallas, Baton Rouge, New York and other cities – sometimes in outright ambushes – and you can see it was an exceptionally tragic 2016 for men and women in local police department uniforms around the country.
An officer's advocacy group called the national law enforcement officers memorial fund says in 2015, 42 officers were killed on duty across the country; six of them were ambushed or shot without warning.
Again, we have seen seven officers die suddenly from gunfire just in Georgia alone.
A study by that same group shows the most vulnerable officers are the first responders, who often cannot know the extent of the dangers they face.
We can never repay these officers or their families the debt of gratitude we owe them.
But we can remind each other as we head into a new year, that dedicated, professional local police officers deserve our respect every day.
General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to email@example.com or write to:
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1909 Wynnton Road
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