Recent shootings of area law enforcement officers leave communities wanting answers

CEDARVILLE — Three area law enforcement officers shot in the last month is a troubling trend that leaves communities wanting for answers:

>> RELATED: Richmond officer third local officer shot in line of duty in less than a month

  • July 12: Clearcreek Twp. Police Officer Eric Ney is shot and seriously wounded while investigating a report of domestic violence.
  • July 24: Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Yates is shot and killed while investigating a report of shots fired at a mobile home park.
  • Aug. 10: Richmond, Indiana, Police Officer Seara Burton is shot and critically wounded while assisting on a traffic stop.

“We do seem to have a trend here,” Steven Meacham said to News Center 7′s Molly Koweek on Friday. “It’s obviously not a good trend.”

Meacham, an associate criminal justice professor at Cedarville University whose experience in law enforcement goes back 31 years with the New York State Police, said, “I think we have to understand that law enforcement by its very nature, is a dangerous job.”

Statistics maintained by the national Fraternal Order of Police show that 210 officers were shot in the line of duty as of the end of July, a 14 percent increase from the same time last year and up 12 percent from 2021.

There are several factors, Meacham said, not the least of which include resources and community support to deal with and solve violent crime.

“To apprehend criminals, to lock people up, we need to have people in the district attorneys offices who are willing to prosecute to the full extent of the law,” he said. “We need to have judges that sentence people correctly for prison terms.”

Often, he said, the perpetrator is somebody who has a lengthy criminal record, who really should not be on the streets.

All three people involved in shooting the area law enforcement officers -- Cole White in the Yates slaying, Mark Evers in the Ney wounding

and Phillip Matthew Lee in the Burton shooting -- have criminal pasts.

And it doesn’t helps, Meacham said, that there seems to be a lack of respect for law enforcement -- the institution or the officers.

“I think that to understand that the men and women who wear the uniform, who go out there, and put their lives on the line, every day, every night, takes tremendous courage, and I think that they need to be respected and supported.”

Comments on this article