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The FBI has released the 2013 edition of its cheerfully titled Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. [Click here to read. Press release with summary after the jump.] Once again, the greatest danger the police face is . . . accidental death. The report reports that 49 police officers died in accidents (26 killed in motor vehicle accidents, two “accidentally shot” ). “Felonious acts” killed 27 law enforcement officers. All but one of those died from gunfire. Bad guys with handguns took out 18 cops, the rest used shotguns or rifles. Six of the cop killers were “under judicial supervision” when they pulled the trigger. The total stat represents a drop of 22 percent from the previous year. It’s also worth noting that America is home to around 750k sworn police officers. So a policeman has a .0036 percent chance of being shot to death by a bad guy. That’s one out of 27,778 officers . . .

FBI press release:

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013. Of these, 27 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents. In addition, 49,851 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury are included in the 2013 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.

Felonious Deaths

The 27 felonious deaths occurred in 16 states. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2013 decreased by 22 when compared with the 49 officers who were feloniously killed in 2012. The five- and 10-year comparisons show a decrease of 21 felonious deaths compared with the 2009 figure (48 officers) and a decrease of 30 deaths compared with 2004 data (57 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Twenty-five of the officers were male, and two were female. Twenty-five of the officers were white, and two were black.

Circumstances: Of the 27 officers feloniously killed, six were killed in arrest situations, five were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, five were ambushed, four were involved in tactical situations, four were answering disturbance calls, and two were conducting traffic pursuits/stops. One was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, a search, or an interview.

Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 26 of the 27 victim officers. Of these 26 officers, 18 were slain with handguns, five with rifles, and three with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Regions: Fifteen of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, six in the West, four in the Midwest, and two in the Northeast.

Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 28 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths. Twenty of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and six of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.

Accidental Deaths

Forty-nine law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2013. The majority (23 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths increased by one from the 2012 total (48 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were accidentally killed was 41 years; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 13. All 49 of the officers were male. Forty-one of the officers were white, six were black, and race was not reported for two officers.

Circumstances: Of the 49 officers accidentally killed, 23 died as a result of automobile accidents, nine were struck by vehicles, four officers died in motorcycle accidents, four officers were killed in falls, two were accidentally shot, two drowned, one died in an aircraft accident, and four officers died in other types of duty-related accidents. Seatbelt usage was reported for 22 of the 23 officers killed in automobile accidents. Of these, 14 officers were not wearing seatbelts, three of whom were seated in parked patrol vehicles. Eight officers were wearing their seatbelts at the times of the accidents.

Regions: Thirty-one of the accidental deaths occurred in the South, nine in the West, five in the Northeast, and 4 in the Midwest.


In 2013, of the 49,851 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 29.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (31.2 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.8 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.9 percent of assaults. Expanded assault details have been included in the 2013 publication. Data for assaults during which officers were injured with firearms or knives/other cutting instruments are located in new tables, figures, and selected narratives.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2013
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  1. And the numbers keep decreasing, despite the record number of firearms in the U.S..
    Seems to be inline with the overall declining murder rate in the states.

    • The overall total population of the US has been increasing. So it would be interesting to know:
      1. Number / % increase of total population
      2. Have Cop numbers remained stable….Are these Federal, State or Local Cops
      3. Number / % of increase death OF Cop as related to increase population…If crime rate keeps dropping even as population increases, than the overall “safety” of the Cop is much better than the numbers would suggest.
      4. Number / % of increase death BY Cop as population increases….How likely is the population to be killed by Co
      5. Nationality / Immigration status of Cop killer. I live in Houston. I hear a lot about violent crime committed by illegals. And I read about it in the papers. But never see any hard, summary level numbers.

      And then look at the overall % increase in firearms ownership. I’m guessing the overall increase in number of firearms owners across the Population has actually lead to a % Decrease in Death of Cop.

      But that would be numbers in a context…Not numbers standing alone.

      Good Thoughts by all the commentators.

  2. “Twenty-five of the officers were white, and two were black.”

    Criminals are rascist. There should have been 19.5 Whites, ~3.5 Blacks, 2.5 mutts, 1 Asian, and 1.5 other.

  3. “The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the time of the fatal incidents. ”
    “the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 13.”
    Must be something bad about that 13 number 🙂

  4. It’s also worth noting that America is home to around 750k sworn police officers. So a policeman has a .0036 percent chance of being shot to death by a bad guy. That’s one out of 27,778 officers…

    Two thoughts:

    1. How many of those 750K are actual on-the-street LEO, and how many ride the pine? So, that percentage may be skewed a bit.

    2. Let’s reverse the scenario: how many, and what percentage, of “bad guys” are killed by cops in the line of duty?

    • I have no idea how many “bad guys” there are in the country, but the number of people killed by cops hovers around 400 per year.

  5. Sounds like a pretty good gig. Hey I’ve seen someone die in a factory 40 years ago. No armor, no guns, no taser or dogs. I know the cops are not trying in Missouri. Whatever…

  6. Bad guys killed 27 cops. Cops killed over 400 “bad guys.” I’d say that it’s more dangerous to be a “bad guy” than a cop.

    • Yes, one would expect that a vocation of violent crime would be inherently more dangerous than just about any other vocation.

      There are what, 8-10K gang bangers and other violent crimonals killed in the line of work annually? Cops are responsible for 400 of those? Almost 100% of which are justified.

      And almost 0% of cops killed in the line of duty are justified killings.

      Moral of the story? Don’t pick “violent criminal” as a vocation.

      • “There are what, 8-10K gang bangers and other violent criminals killed in the line of work annually? Cops are responsible for 400 of those? Almost 100% of which are justified.

        Actually, it’s interesting to tease that number out of the annual homicide stats, since some of it is wildly open to interpretation as to how it is classified. Regardless, I would take serious issue with the suggestion that nearly 100% are justified. Nearly 100% cleared? Yup. 30% sketchy? At least. 10% outright murder? Understatement.

        And almost 0% of cops killed in the line of duty are justified killings.

        In their off-duty time they commit more crimes than CCW holders. On duty, they commit way more crime than most criminals, because they can get away with it. For a good long time, as long as they don’t become embarrassing by getting caught so that it can’t be cleaned up. Not all, not even most. But a more significant percentage than the general population is quite criminal. ‘Training Day’ was not only inspired by the events at Rampart Division, it seriously underplayed the scope and breadth. This stuff is all routine, and happens all day every day all across the country. Too much easy drug money between the fat salaries “fighting the drug scourge” to making sure enough gets through to justify that paycheck. All the skim and bribery is icing on the cake. .

  7. I don’t know if this will be an unpopular opinion or not, but the difference perceived by the public (at least, in the old days) between cops getting killed in the line of duty and everyone else is that many of the police deaths are intentional murders committed by other human beings.

    I’m not trying to claim some kind of moral high ground, here, or to make some kind of statement about doing whatever it takes to go home at the end of the shift. It’s just a simple fact that people in general feel differently about an untimely death if it was a murder compared to an accident. Similarly, people in general feel differently depending on whose death they are thinking about- with a grown man killed in a logging accident not being newsworthy, but a school shooting being considered perfect justification for taking rights away from law abiding citizens… ironically, at gunpoint.

    Is this ridiculous? I think it is. I also think that loggers, commercial fishermen, and anyone else more likely to be killed on the job deserves better working conditions.

    Even among police deaths, some get publicized, and some don’t. If I wreck my car and get ejected because I didn’t wear my seatbelt, I doubt any of you will hear about it. If I get killed in a fight with some punk who shoots me with my own gun, it will make local news but not much else. If I get ambushed outside the station, it could spark a month long manhunt with national news coverage. Am I any more or less dead in the different scenarios?

    I mentioned ‘in the old days.’ I am well aware that public opinion has shifted to be less supportive of police over the last few decades, and that some of the things police have done in the name of ‘officer safety’ are directly responsible for this. Not going to go down the list here, they’re discussed often enough here.

    Again, regarding police deaths as different can be kind of ridiculous. Not going to change, though. People are ridiculous all day long.

    • 50% of police KIAs are traffic accidents. Walked out of cruiser, struck by car. Car on shoulder, hit by truck. Whatever.

      So now we’re left the rest. I’m sorry, but to me, dead is dead. Killed driving forklift or a P71, you aren’t going home to the family. Difference being that whether you as a copper are shot or smacked by a snowplow, you’ll get 5 minutes on the local news. You’ll get a 100 car convoy of public vehicles, with public servants on the public dime doing your funeral procession. There will be whining for donations for your family on top of your insurance.

      The poor guy who had a shipping container crush him? 5 second news blurb. Or the other folks who are killed in “workplace violence” incidents (which if memory serves was well over 400 in 2012).

      Enjoy the gravy job. Enjoy the holster sniffers and the badge bunnies. But please, doing your job is incredibly safe, and when the chips are really down, I know who I can count on for my protection. Me. I know where the cops will be, hiding behind barricades letting the animals run wild. Worked that way in ’92, and even moreso today.

      • Incredibly safe?? Normally I don’t take comments on here personally but this is too asinine for me to ignore. I am a police officer, and my philosophy is to treat every citizen I encounter with respect. I am not a dirtbag who antagonizes people, or violates their rights, or pulls them over for dumb stuff like dangling objects. I try to view myself as a peace officer, not an LEO.

        That being said, I have been assaulted on numerous occasions, been in several knock down, drag out fights with people who have beaten their significant others into a pulp, and shot at once. Now please, explain to me how my job is gravy, or incredibly safe?

        • I would not say that your job is not dangerous or gravy but there are many jobs more dangerous. I would contend that police shootings could be halved with minimal risk to LEO. After all, it is the public that is supposed to be protected from the govt and it’s agents.

        • Hey Tile, quit your whining….your “job” is far from being as dangerous as you want people to believe. Try being a state corrections officer in the exercise yard when a fight breaks out. You’re outnumbered 100-1 by CONVICTED felons and all you’re armed with is your Motorola and one pair of handcuffs. Better yet, go look at the statistics for injuries and deaths of lumberjacks.

          Quit your complaining. If you don’t like your perks, bennies, 20 year retirement and salary paid by the taxpayer, QUIT ! You’re not really needed. About all you guys do is respond to a call or a complaint. You prevent nothing.

        • How is your job incredibly safe? Your risk of dying while doing is almost exactly the same as being a Lawn Service and Landscape Worker Supervisor. That’s how.

          The guy delivering, well, anything, in a truck is far more likely to never see his family again after he leaves for work. Let alone every roofer, construction laborer, etc, etc. I have cop friends, and many relatives who were cops over the decades. Getting into brawls, getting bit by dogs if you’re not careful, and yes, even being shot at (or shot) are part of the job. If you think these things should not be part of your chosen profession, then you chose the wrong gig. This is much akin to signing up for the Natty Guard thinking you will never be deployed.

          Bottom line, statistically (as in deaths/per100K) lots more folks get killed on their “safe” jobs than cops. Perhaps you feel your injuries are more special than those same debilitating to crippling injuries when one of us ‘normal citizens’ gets hurt. Sorry, but dead is dead, injured is injured, and more ‘regular’ folks are more likely to get shot by some crazed gunman by just showing up at work than you are.

          As the CO noted below, he actually works in constant danger. Every single one of his customers just might shank him. Working CPD Patrol on the Southside is a nap on the beach compared to Corrections. Especially anything much above Medium. Based on what I know from COs in CA and NM, I’d bet he does a serious physical altercation once every few months.

          Oh and the gravy? I’m hard pressed to think of a copper I know that makes less than $60K base (noobs), plus boatloads of OT. Most are making 6 figures, only some are brass. Gold-plated retirement and the lowest bar for disability known to man. (Except maybe fire depts…)

          I know, this danger/hero mythology gets you badge bunnies and gets uniformed taxpayers to help buy your latest ATV. But there’s no real danger, and hasn’t been for decades. A few fights, and getting shot at (not even actually) shot are a concern? My kindly uncle would have put you in to ride the pine, my grandfather would have just fired you because you weren’t cut out to be a police officer. Some fights and getting shot at? That’s being a bartender.

      • I’ve lost people to natural causes, accidents and homicide. For us to pretend that losing someone to murder doesn’t impact us as harshly as an accidental death or natural death is, at best, dishonest.

        One of the many reasons I’ve fought since 68 to protect and advance gun rights is to ensure that I have the legal means to defend myself against murder.

        As for other jobs being more dangerous than a cops cause more workers get run over by forklifts. maybe its time to rethink safety and training regs for those jobs.

        • Well, I had a Prof who fought in the Vosges against the SS, and he swore the closest he ever got killed was by a forklift driver in an American factory. As for better training, we usually deal with the equivalent of cheap Russian peasant conscripts in our wonderful factories.

      • 16V….thank you. Good to see there are still some people in America who understand the ever increasing encroachment of the “law” into our lives. Myself, I have little use for those I call “badged thugs”.

        Good remarks. Thank you again.

        • Mike,

          I agree with you and your well thought out response. I take no issue with the fact that other jobs out there are more dangerous, I merely thought the idea of saying it is incredibly safe to be ridiculous.

          As for the number of LEO shootings should be cut in half, I agree with you there. There are trigger happy cops out there, and those who shoot without dire need should be held criminally culpable for their actions. One of the best that comes to mind is the two officers that shot at that Toyota pickup truck, those officers should face heavy consequences for needlessly endangering the lives of two innocent people.

          As for the post telling me “if I don’t like it, quit,” I never said I don’t like my job. I enjoy it, and being able to help people. All you’ve done is show that you’ve come to the conclusion that police are unnecessary, and no amount of arguing with you is going to change your stance, so I will not be drawn into a disagreement with you. Your opinion is your own and I respect your right to express it, even if I may personally disagree with it.

      • 16V, allow me to quote myself;

        “Is this ridiculous? I think it is. I also think that loggers, commercial fishermen, and anyone else more likely to be killed on the job deserves better working conditions.”

        I think you and I actually share an opinion that dead is dead, and that the public reaction to police and even fire department line of duty deaths is unreasonably exaggerated. Not because we don’t matter, but because every other death is just as tragic to the family that lost a loved one.

        I do take pride in my work, and I do take it hard when a cop goes down, but I am under no illusions that the job is more dangerous than it is. I’ll even admit that it does make me feel better when people show appreciation for police under good circumstances and bad.

        My point is that the public in general does and will continue to see it differently due to their emotional response.

        • Hasdrubal, I take no issue that from what you write you are one of the “good guys”. I have no problem with cops, I know many, and have had many several members do the gig over the centuries here.

          I just know way too much about ‘the job’ to shut up when the “hero” stuff kicks in. Drives me nuts in a Pavlovian way. To me it’s just a frakkin’ job, which was what I learned from the members of my family who actually did it. Even on the Southside of Chicago, it’s rather boring, and that was when things were really happening compared to today. I did ridealongs 20 ago when I considered doing it, and after the 3rd high-speed, they’re just driving fast chasing a rabbit. No more exciting than street racing in HS. Cool to drive fast without worrying about a ticket, but eventually, meh. Sure somebody could shoot me if I was really sloppy on a traffic stop, but the odds are almost zero, and I have armor and backup. As well as firing position. Domestics are the only time things statistically go bad..

          Copper can be a noble profession if you hold to our principles and ideals. I hope you can occasionally fight the good fight and survive the blue wall trying to prevent you from doing so.

  8. Proof that cops are trigger happy. Depending on the year 15- 20× more people shot by cops than cops shot. Compare that with Great Britain – a country of 80 million – where the police in 2013 killed no one! Seems that the the cops put too high of a premium on shielding themselves from the public in a country where the public is supposed to be shielded from the government. Most of this BS falls on blacks. The folks in Ferguson have a valid point. The laws need to change, too bad that isn’t their central point but that’s another issue…

    • I posted this in the other topic after you mentioned the same UK stat, but was kind of late so people might not have seen it.

      You want us to get close to the UK statistics of citizens killed by police? The first step is to outlaw civilian ownership of firearms. Second step is to confiscate those guns not willingly turned in. Enjoy the resulting lack of situations where police think a gun is being pointed at them.

      Personally, I’d rather keep as much of my freedom as I can.

  9. One of the most dangerous jobs is that of a taxi driver.

    If being afraid and wanting to go home after work can justify shooting, taxi drivers would be allowed to shoot, without consequence, multiples of the number that police are allowed.

    If every time a taxi driver got nervous about a fare he could twitch his itchy trigger finger, and get off in a grand jury, would anyone ever get into a cab again?

    Since the police are militarized, I propose a military style draft from the community, with police draftees getting the same weapons, training to standards, and pay as the vocational police.

    Surely there will be many both highly qualified and unemployed in distressed communities who would not dodge the draft, and even perform with civic pride, if officially invited.

    A mixed force of this type might moderate extreme sentiments, both within the police force itself, and between the community and the police force.

      • NO national draft. A draft from members of the community, by the community’s elected legislature.

        A police draft could be useful for any city, town, county, or state wherever the local police force takes on characteristics of a foreign military occupying force rather than participating as an intrinsic member of the community. Or as one poster referred to himself above, a PEACE officer.

        Neither the police nor a community should be happy with contentious, continuous, and adversarial animosity in situations where each should be able to count on the other for aid when in crisis.

        And if the Feds have money for their rich brethren to the tune of trillions, the drafted police forces should be able to partake in some of the same Fed largess to the relief of the economically distressed communities brought down by those favored fraudulent few who escaped prosecution for their financial looting and received bonuses and Fed bailouts instead.

  10. How many people did the cops kill wrongly in the same time period?

    (The figure of 400 cited above is for all homicides carried out by police officers, both justified and unjustified. I’m wondering specifically about the latter.)


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