The number of police officers who have died in the line of duty is up 43 percent so far this year, according to a new report by The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
One Sunday, Officer Michael Bailey, a 20-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, became one of those statistics.
The 62-year-old was preparing to retire in August and had recently purchased a new Buick automobile as present for himself. He was washing that car on Sunday when he was shot in front of his house. Witnesses said three men tried to steal his car.
"You know, he gave us a lot of insight -- how to survive on a job, how to work this job, how to service citizens in the community," fellow CPD Officer Eugene Goldsmith said of his slain colleague.
"You know I'm just devastated and shook up about it, because a gentleman like that gentleman cannot be replaced," he said.
"Michael was involved with this church," police commander Christopher Kennedy said. "A good person has been lost, so the city's really lost a guardian angel - which is unfortunate."
Bailey is the third Chicago police officer to be killed in the last two months.
Meanwhile in South Carolina, another 20-year police veteran is currently in critical, but stable condition after being shot while on duty.
Authorities said 47-year-old Officer Robert Edward Jr. was responding to a domestic disturbance call at the time of shooting.
These recent incidents reflect an upward trend of violence toward police officers in 2010.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 87 officers died in the line of duty between January 1 and June 30 of 2010. That statistic compares to 61 officers who were killed during the first six months of last year - a 43 percent increase.
California, Texas and Florida had the most deaths, with traffic accidents and shootings being among the causes.
"Everyone is sad about this, and it's happening too frequently," said John Holmes, a relative of Bailey's. "The sadness is the fact that we got laws on the books that would stop a lot of this, but people have no fear of consequences for what they do."
The study warned if the trend of officer deaths continue, 2010 could be the worst year for law enforcement in two decades.
*Originally published July 21, 2010.