Earlier this morning the FBI released their 2010 report on police officers who were attacked or killed “in the line of duty.” According to their statistics, 56 officers were killed (8 more than 2009) in line-of-duty (LOD) deaths, and 98% were killed using firearms. Considering that there are currently about 683,000 active police officers in the country that’s almost double the national homicide rate, but still nowhere near as bad as cabbies and liquor store owners. Make the jump for some more interesting findings.
According to the FBI:
- Average age for LOD Death was 38 (no word on how close to retirement).
- 26% of officers killed were ambushed, 25% were arresting someone, and 5% were killed in a “tactical situation.”
- 67% of weapons used were handguns, 27% were rifles, 4% were shotguns.
- Twenty-two of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, and three in the Northeast. Three of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.
- 3.4% of assaults on police officers involved firearms.
The fact that rifles were used for 1/4 of all deaths makes sense given the similar number of deaths due to ambush situations. The most interesting statistic is that the vast majority of the deaths occurred in the “south,” an area generally composed of those states which were one part of the Confederacy. Generally these areas aren’t considered “high crime” locales compared to New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Noticeably absent (mainly because the website with the report is so poorly constructed that it’s impossible to navigate) is a definition for “line of duty death.” For Fire & Rescue workers in Virginia, any deaths up to and including 24 hours after you take your gear off the vehicle for the day are included as “line of duty deaths,” even if you get hit by a bus. Which makes me wonder what the circumstances of those 56 deaths were.
That statistic for ambushed officers is what strikes me the most. As an EMT, I ride around in a large box with flashing lights and delicious drugs inside. Being ambushed is my biggest concern — someone calling in a fake LOLDFO (little old lady done fell over) and killing me and my crew for our stash of medicines. It’s something we deal with every day and seeing it in black and white makes me realize that it happens more often than we’d like to think it does.