TAYLORSVILLE, Utah (ABC4) – Taylorsville Police Chief Brady Cottam calls days like today the worst of the worst. Early Thursday, he got a call that a suspect shot at one of his officers. 

This incident is far from the first. According to the FBI from January to the end of September of this year, 59 officers across the country were killed in the line of duty. This is a 51% increase from the year before. 

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, over the last five years, the number of assaults on officers has been as low as 633 in 2016 and as high as 860 in 2018. 

While 2020 did not see a year-over-year increase in assaults on officers, homicides increased nearly 45 percent from 2019 to 2020. 

“I think a large majority of people in my position would want to blame it on the media and other outlets, you know and social media specifically and you know things that have gone on the last year, year and a half,” says Cottam. 

ABC4 News broke down the data from 2020 involving assaults on officers by activity. The fourth most common activity was “suspicious person” calls, like what happened Thursday morning in Taylorsville. 

Cottam said authorities are still working to ID the suspect. The officer involved is on paid administrative leave, which Cottam shares are part of normal protocol.