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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.

Interesting stuff…

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    • Great question. The site keeps giving me errors so I can’t check, but the summary above only accounts for 56% of the deaths (and if those are the three largest categories, what is the other 44%?)

      . The site did have an area for “accidental deaths” but I can’t check it out.

      I’d definitely be interested to see the stats on cabbies and convenience store workers- a listing of the most and least dangerous jobs (at least by murder rate) would be cool.

    • I have a question: How many innocent victims of police violence were there in 2011? How much was paid out in wrongful deaths by Police Depts?

      Traffic-related fatalities declined 17 percent in 2012 (50) compared to 2011 (60). Of these 50 officers, 30 were killed in auto crashes, 14 were struck outside their vehicle, and six were killed in motorcycle crashes.
      After a two-year increase, firearms-related fatalities declined by 32 percent in 2012 (49) compared to 2011 (72). Of the 49 officers, 15 were killed in ambushes; nine were killed during traffic stops or while in pursuit; five were killed in drug-related incidents; five were killed responding to a robbery; four were killed while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; three were killed responding to domestic disturbance calls; and two each were killed while attempting an arrest, responding to a disturbance call, or from accidental shootings. One officer was killed responding to a burglary in progress and one was killed during an investigative activity.
      Of the 28 officers who died due to other causes, 14 were caused by job-related illnesses; five officers were stabbed; three officers fell to their death; two officers each were killed in helicopter crashes and beatings; one officer was killed in an aircraft crash; and one officer was killed in a boating incident.
      During the past year, more officers were killed in Texas (10) than any other state; followed by Georgia (eight); Colorado and Maryland (six); and Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania (five).
      Nine officers killed in 2012 served with federal law enforcement agencies. Seven of the officers who died during the past year served with correctional agencies. Thirteen of the 127 fatalities were female. On average, the officers who died in 2012 were 41 years old and had served for 12 years.

      For a complete copy of the preliminary report on 2012 law enforcement fatalities, go to:

  1. I believe that there are pockets in the south with high levels of violence.
    How often do paramedics get ambushed and their medicine stash taken?

    The Justice Department and its Agencies are not known for objective, honest, and clean reporting. All things considered, 58 police officers being killed is sad and tragic yet it is almost a surprisingly low number considering the dangers the police must go through on the street often on a weekly basis.

  2. I always figured a lot of LEOs would be killed by vehicular traffic in one way or another. Maybe not?
    I suppose that much of the ambush figures correlates to the death by rifles. A State Trooper ambush incident that I am familiar with was by a guy who popped out of his truck with an AK-47 and killed the LEO.
    Sort of surprised by the low incident rate in the North East.
    I would imagine that a lot of the deaths occurred in the bad areas of town, as certain areas of Indy, Fort Wayne, Dayton, and Cincy have a lot more crime than more sedate areas.

  3. What would be more interesting would be to compare officer death rate before and after the violate everyones rights in the name of officer safety craze. As well as how many civilians are killed every year by the police.

    • Unfortunately there’s no definitive answer. The estimate for 2006 is about 200 (a lot google searching is required) . Congress mandated the collection of data back in 1995 but the way it’s collected makes it impossible for the public to track specific information.

      After all, there is benefits to letting you know how many LEO have been killed, but there is no benefits for letting you know how many civilians have been killed and the rulers make the rules,

      That said, being a LEO is difficult and I feel sorry for the families of each LEO who has died but I wish the reporting was more fair.

  4. Most shooting videos we’ve studied here happen at traffic stops. Unfortunately it’s an easy way to ambush a LEO because traffic stops are so common place that they can easily breed complacency.

  5. The Northeast number reflects the old adage “fewer guns = fewer deaths.”

    The percentage of rifles used to kill cops puts the let to that other famous gun-rights lie, you know the one that comes out every time we talk about long-gun registries.

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