Police Deaths May be Fewest Since 1944

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Tupelo, Mississippi, police officer Kevin “Gale” Stauffer was shot to death on December 23 while pursuing robbery suspects

This year is wrapping up as a cause for celebration among law enforcement because on-duty fatalities may reach a historic low.


As of December 23, a total of 102 police had been killed in 2013. That’s the lowest amount since 1944, when 90 officers died.


The leading cause of death for law enforcement has been traffic accidents, but even those are going down. Forty-four officers were killed in vehicular-related incidents this year, down from 48 in 2012 and 62 in 2011. Officials attribute the decline to improved training for police who get behind the wheel.


“This is a historic moment for law enforcement,” Dale Stockton, a retired Carlsbad (San Diego County) police captain who heads Below 100, which offers safety training to police departments nationwide, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Barring a catastrophe, we’ll come in at a level as low as anyone has seen since 1944, when most every crime-demographic male was out of the country. No one wearing a badge today has ever experienced a year with a loss level this low.”


Gunfire is the second leading cause of death of officers, with 29 killed so far this year. These types of fatalities also are declining.


In 2012, 47 died from shootings, and in 2011, 67 officers were shot and killed.


In addition to the officers who died, 17 law enforcements dogs were also killed in 2013.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

On-Duty Police Deaths May Hit 70-Year Low In 2013 (by Dan Freedman, San Francisco Chronicle)

Officer Deaths by Year (National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund)

Honoring Officers Killed in 2013 (Officer Down Memorial Page)


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