Officer fatalities

The preliminary count of police officer line-of-duty deaths in the U.S. for 2011 is 177. This is the highest number since 2001, and before that, since 1995. This makes the Below 100 campaign even more urgent.

This was not a record high, however. According to NLEOMF data, the worst year was 1930 with 286 officer fatalities, followed by 1974 with 280 deaths. If we take into account the number of police officers employed year-by-year (using a rough estimate for 1930, and using 2010 employment data for 2011), then the rate of officer fatalities was 2.86 per 1,000 officers in 1930, 0.61 in 1974, and 0.25 in 2011. Looked at this way, police officers in 1930 were over ten times more likely to be killed in the line of duty than officers today.

To emphasize, this is not the only way to look at danger and officer safety over time. It might be that officers today run a higher risk of being shot and/or seriously injured — these data are more difficult to assemble, especially historically. Everyone agrees that seat belts, air bags, body armor, and trauma centers are responsible for saving a lot more lives today.

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One Response to “Officer fatalities”

  1. Gary Cordner Says:

    Here is a more complete report from the NLEOMF on police officer fatalities in 2011: http://www.nleomf.org/assets/pdfs/reports/2011-EOY-Report.pdf

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