Law Enforcement Deaths Drop to 54-Year Low

Saturday, February 08, 2014
Police officers grieve at memorial for fallen colleague (photo: Edmund D. Fountain, St. Petersburg Times, AP)

Fewer police officers died last year in the United States than during any other time since the late 1950s, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.


A total of 111 law enforcement personnel died in the line of duty in 2013, marking the lowest number of fatalities since 110 were killed in 1959.


Last year’s total represented an 8% decrease from the 121 who died in 2012.


Auto-related incidents were the biggest killer of law enforcement. Thirty-one officers died in automobile crashes, 11 were hit by motorists and four were involved in fatal motorcycle crashes, for a total of 46 deaths.


The second leading cause of death was guns, which killed 33 officers. Of the firearms-related fatalities, seven were the result of ambush.


Some types of deaths went up last year, namely those not classified as gun- or auto-related. These totaled 32, compared with 24 in 2012.


Also, more officers died on the job from illnesses in 2013 than in 2012, 18 versus 8.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Law Enforcement Fatalities Dip to Lowest Level in Six Decades (National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund) (pdf)

Police Deaths May be Fewest Since 1944 (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


anonamouse 5 years ago
In my town, the rarity of a gun-related death in law enforcement apparently prompted the police chief to undertake the novel PR exercise of parading the body of the most recent cop-shot-on-the-job in a city-spanning motorcade. The chief thought citizens needed an opportunity to show their gratitude to the police, and quite a few did. Unfortunately, in the event traffic was completely gridlocked, including a 10-mile stretch of the downtown interstate, for hours --- at what cost to local business was never stated. There were A LOT of missed appointments that day. ... The relatively inexperienced officer btw had been killed struggling with a shoplifter (who was then disarmed by store clerks). Meanwhile, veterans who die in combat lie anonymously on the tarmac at some military airport; photos of these dead are not considered suitable for public veneration.

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