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Arkansas State Police

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — FBI officials said Thursday that violence against law enforcement officers has not only become a nationwide issue, but also an issue in Arkansas.

James Dawson, the Special Agent in Charge with the Little Rock field office of the FBI, said 60,000 police officers around the country in the last year have been assaulted while on duty. He also said of those law enforcement officers 19,000 were injured from those assaults.

Dawson also said the number of murders is also staggering.

"If you take from today and you go back 364 days, there have been 82 officers in the United States that were feloniously killed in the line of duty,” Dawson said. “Just this year alone from this calendar year, from January 1st to now, it's 75."

Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Jarad Harper said they are seeing more armed drug traffickers committing violent crimes in the community and against law enforcement.

“We've seized over 342 guns just this year and with that, 50 of those predatorial drug traffickers we've had two arrest that were armed,” Harper said. “When I say armed, they were physically armed."

According to the Arkansas State Police Director, Col. Bill Bryant, so far this year they've responded to 27 officer-involved shootings compared to 21 shootings last year. Bryant said the uptick in violent assaults against police officers goes hand in hand with the increase in violent crimes.

Bryant said since July 25, there have been three instances where troopers were fired at while trying to arrest a suspect.

"We do versed training, violent encounter and restraint systems, if you have to end up going hand in hand,” Bryant said. “Our officers are equipped with patrol rifles and shotguns, we recently just purchased new bullet proof vests that can stop rifle rounds for our troopers."

Officials from the law enforcement agencies said the wellness of each officer is necessary to do their job, but they can't do it without the support of those who they serve.

Many of the law enforcement officers told KATV they are putting a lot of emphasis on de-escalating situations and improving community relations.

Officials with the Arkansas State Police said in its 86-year history, 19 troopers have died in the line of duty.

This article originally ran on ktbs.com.

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