TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody is urging support for law enforcement as officer deaths spike nationwide. Attorney General Moody today issued a statement regarding the drastic increase in line-of-duty deaths urging Floridians to support those who have sworn an oath to protect and serve. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, the nation has now lost more law enforcement officers in the line of duty in 2020, than were lost all of last year. According to the, 157 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty so far this year—compared to 147 officer deaths in all of 2019. Nine Florida officers are included in the count, surpassing the total officers lost statewide the previous year.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As Florida’s Attorney General and the wife of a law enforcement officer, the increase in line-of-duty deaths is both heartbreaking and infuriating. We have seen law enforcement officers on the front lines of this pandemic contract COVID-19 and die. We have also seen deliberate, brutal attacks on officers across the country and even right here in Florida. I am urging Floridians to do whatever they can to make the jobs of our law enforcement officers a little safer—even if they have pulled you over for speeding, thank them for what they do, because without them chaos, disorder and harm to the innocent would result.”

The coronavirus is taking a tremendous toll on law enforcement—at least six law enforcement officers in Florida have died after contracting the virus with many others becoming seriously ill. Additionally, murders of officers are increasing. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, 28 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty during the first half of 2020. Two Florida officers were murdered earlier this year. These deaths represent an increase of approximately 17% from the same time period last year.

Attorney General Moody is working to deter the increase in law enforcement officer deaths and to support the family members of officers killed after contracting COVID-19. Attorney General Moody serves on President Donald J. Trump’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. The Commission is working to identify strategies and innovative solutions to help reduce crime, support officers, improve policing and protect Americans.

Attorney General Moody also led a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in support of the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act. The SAFR Act permits the families of first responders, who die or are permanently and totally disabled as a result of COVID-19, to receive the same federal benefits extended to those public servants otherwise killed or injured in the line of duty.

Since taking office, Attorney General Moody has explored additional ways to promote positive impacts of law enforcement officers on local communities. Soon after becoming Attorney General, Moody launched a statewide Back the Blue Campaign. The campaign highlights law enforcement officers, citizens and organizations taking extraordinary steps to forge positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Attorney General Moody also partnered with law enforcement agencies to encourage the growth of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentorship program, Bigs in Blue. This program connects at-risk youth with law enforcement mentors. Six months after Attorney General Moody’s partnership, more than 115 new mentorship relationships were formed, and four new Bigs in Blue programs were created in Florida.