Following a two year decline, law enforcement fatalities in 2010 spiked to 160. This was an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to last year, when 117 officers were killed in the line of duty.
Preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that for the 13th year in a row, traffic fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 73 officers killed in the line of duty—an increase of 43 percent from 2009.
Fifty-nine officers were fatally shot this year; an increase of 20 percent from 49 in 2009. Of the 59 officers, 12 were shot in ambush attacks. Ten of the 12 ambush deaths involved multiple-fatality shootings in Fresno (CA), San Juan (PR), West Memphis (AR), Tampa (FL) and Hoonah (AK). “A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don’t think twice about killing a cop,” observed NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd.
Traffic and firearms-related fatalities accounted for over 83 percent of all law enforcement fatalities this year. In addition, nineteen officers died from job-related illnesses, two were beaten, two drowned, two were victims of aircraft accidents, two officers fell to his/her death, and one was killed in a boating accident.
For the fourth year in a row, Texas leads all states and territories with 18 fatalities, 11 percent of all fatalities in 2010. California (11), Illinois (10), and Florida (9), join Texas atop the list of the states with the most fatalities.
More information is available in the full 2010 Preliminary End of Year Report at www.LawMemorial.org/ResearchBulletin.