For the past few months, people have been protesting the actions of American police officers. They’ve been screaming that cops are irrationally fearful of suspects and that cops use unjustifiable force on the job. But, if those protestors had the same likelihood of being shot and killed on the job as police officers, they might be inclined to pipe down.

The number of law enforcement officers killed by firearms in the U.S. spiked up 56% in 2014. An annual report, released by the non-profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, stated that there were 126 law enforcement officers (including federal, local, tribal, and territorial officers) shot and killed last year, including 15 ambush assaults. That’s up from 102 cops who died in shootings in 2013.

If you’re a police officer, you’re more likely to die by being shot than by any other cause.

Police officer deaths were highest in California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Georgia. Perhaps most alarming was the increase in ambush assaults. The number of targeted attacks in the were the highest ever for the United States, up from five in 2013 to fifteen in 2014.

The uptick in 2014 comes during a particularly dangerous and incendiary year for police officers. With the well-known deaths of suspects, Eric Garner in New York and Mike Brown in Ferguson, large-scale protests and prison-related gangs called for the death of police officers across the nation. In December, two officers were gunned down while sitting in a patrol car. Just before the murders, the shooter claimed he was going to put some "wings on pigs" and take revenge for black suspects who died earlier in the year.

Craig Floy, Chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, released a statement with the report saying, "Enough is enough. We need to tone down the rhetoric and rally in support of law enforcement and against lawlessness."

Police officers live every day knowing that today could be the day they die, today could be the day a gang member will ambush them, today could be the last day they see their families. It’s tough enough being a police officer, without having a Commander in Chief who spends more time in the pressroom supporting criminal suspects than the heroes trying to protect law-abiding Americans.

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