LE Fatalities Surge 43% in 2010

Fatal shootings, traffic-related deaths increase sharply from 2009; California, Texas and Florida experience the most fatalities

Shortly after Ms. Gregory's election to the national presidency of C.O.P.S., her son, a law enforcement officer, was involved in a shootout with the gunmen who had murdered Sergeant Paudert and Officer Evans in West Memphis, AR, on May 20. Two other law enforcement officers were wounded and the two suspects killed in the gun battle. She notes that her family is now seeing the line-of-duty death issues from the perspective of an affected co-worker as well as a surviving family. Ms. Gregory's brother, Officer James Moon of the Jacksonville (FL) Sheriff's Office, was shot and killed in the line of duty on September 27, 1971.

Other preliminary findings from the mid-year report include the following:

  • Thirty states and Puerto Rico experienced at least one officer fatality during the first six months of 2010. California had the most officer fatalities with nine, including five officers with the California Highway Patrol who died this year. Three states - California, Texas (8 fatalities) and Florida (6) - accounted for more than one-quarter of all officer fatalities in the first half of 2010. In addition, five federal law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year.
  • If current trends continue, 2010 will be the 13th consecutive year in which more law enforcement officers are killed in traffic-related incidents than die from any other single cause. Traffic-related incidents - which include automobile and motorcycle crashes, as well as officers struck while outside their vehicles - accounted for more than 48 percent of the fatalities between January 1 and June 30, 2010. Firearms-related fatalities made up nearly 36 percent, and deaths from all other causes combined accounted for the remaining 16 percent.
  • The average age of the officers killed during the first six months of 2010 was just over 40, with an average of 11.3 years of law enforcement service. Eighty-two of the fallen officers were men; five were women.
  • 2010 could end as one of the deadliest years for law enforcement since the late 1980s. If historical patterns hold true, the 2010 year-end fatality figure could approach the 2007 total of 185. Outside of 2001 - when 240 officers died, including 72 killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11 - 2007 was the deadliest year for U.S. law enforcement since 1989, when there were 195 deaths.

The statistics released by the NLEOMF and C.O.P.S. are preliminary and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for 2010. The report, Law Enforcement Officer Deaths, Mid-Year 2010 Report, is available at www.LawMemorial.org/ResearchBulletin.

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