For the second year in a row, law enforcement fatalities have risen sharply nationwide during 2011, including 49 officers killed by gunfire-the highest number in two decades.
One hundred twenty three officers have died in the line of duty through August 17th, 2011, according to figures released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).
This represents an 19 percent increase over the 103 officers who lost their lives during the same time last year.
For 13 years in a row, traffic-related incidents have been the leading cause of officer fatalities, but so far this year, firearms-related fatalities have out-paced traffic-related fatalities as the primary cause of law enforcement deaths, with 50 officers shot and killed. This represents a troubling 32% increase from the same period in 2010.
Many authorities attribute the increase in officer fatalities to cuts in training, equipment and manpower. "The economy has forced reductions in training, safety equipment and personnel at law enforcement agencies across America," stated NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd. "These budget cuts have put our officers at greater risk, especially as they face a more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element and a continuing terrorist threat," he added. Making sure officers are thoroughly trained and providing proper funding for law enforcement is key to protecting the police officers that protect our communities.
Download the Complete 2011 Mid-Year Officer Fatality Report.