National FOP highlights grim reminders of dangers in law enforcement

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No matter how you slice it, law enforcement is a dangerous profession. We are reminded as sobering numbers are mounting in a new year. At least 45 cops have been shot in the line of duty, with nearly a dozen being fatally wounded, in the first two months of 2021, according to recently released national police union statistics.

The National Fraternal Order of Police announced the alarming figures on Monday, also noting that 13 law enforcement officers were injured in 10 “ambush attacks.”

Sadly, as quick as the statistics come out, they change. Just Monday, a Georgia deputy with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office succumbed to injuries he suffered when he was shot in his vehicle during a police pursuit, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Lt. Justin Bedwell died at a South Georgia hospital on Monday after he was shot Saturday afternoon while responding to a police chase in his patrol unit. As a result of the deadly encounter, Brad Phillips and Troy Phillips have been taken into custody by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Law Officer reported.

“He paid the ultimate sacrifice,” the Georgia Bureau of Investigation wrote on Twitter, “and we thank him for his service.”

Bedwell had served with the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years, his family wrote on a GoFundMe page as the lieutenant lay in a hospital. He was the agency’s fourth deputy killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“Justin was a loving husband and caring stepfather, an honorable man,” his colleague, Decatur County firefighter Lt. Brandon Draper, wrote on a second GoFundMe page for Bedwell. “He was a valued pillar of the community. Both as a law enforcement officer and as a voice for victims.”

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