Texas deadliest state for law enforcement in 2017

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DENISON, Tex. (KXII) -- According to the latest report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 128 officers were killed on the job in the US in 2017.

Texas led the nation with the most officer fatalities at 14, six of which died from gunfire.

Nationwide, the leading cause of death was traffic-related.

Fire-arm related deaths were the second leading cause, with 44 officers shot and killed, the number one circumstance being domestic disturbance.

"We don't send just one officer on a call like that,” Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said. “We have at least two officers, depending on the situation maybe more."

Grayson County Crisis Center Executive Director Shelli Shields said leaving is the most dangerous point in an abusive situation.

"If that's when the officer arrives on the scene at the point when that victim is ready to leave then that abuser is going to go to whatever measure is needed to gain that power and control back,” Shields said.

While Denison has seen one domestic violence case so far this year, as a whole the county has seen dozens, including a violent assault on Contemporary Drive in Sherman this past week and a stabbing in Sherman Monday night.

"The officers are trained to be as safe as you possibly can be but there are situations where you know you're walking into a dangerous environment,” Eppler said.

Shields said the crisis center isn’t just a resource for people leaving violent situations. They also offer batterer's intervention courses for people to learn to change abusive behavior.

"They're in a group environment where there are other people dealing with those situations. Who are ready to challenge them. To change, to replace those behaviors, to not just do what they've always done,” Shields said. “They listen to other men in the group who, maybe they’ve been there three months. So they’ve learned different behaviors and they’re really identifying that life can be different.”

Shields told us the weekly classes are $650 for 6 months, which can be paid in $25 installments.

Courses that Eppler said could benefit not only families, but the officers working these calls.

"Officer safety has to be number one because if we're not safe we can't help anybody else,” Eppler said.

Shields said the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) is always a great resource for women and men who are ready to leave an abusive relationship.

And there’s even a Crisis Text Line. Simply text CONNECT to 741741.

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