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Number of Police Who Died on Duty Declines Nationwide

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via YellowBrix

December 29, 2009

While Western Pennsylvania mourned the deaths of four police officers this year, the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nationwide fell to a 50-year low, according to a new report.

The decline — 124 officers died on duty this year compared to 133 in 2008 — was offset by a spike in the number of shooting deaths, which includes the slayings of a Penn Hills police officer earlier this month and three city officers in April.

Nationally, 48 police officers were shot and killed this year, nine more than in 2008, according to the report by a police group, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The report also was issued by the nonprofit organization Concerns of Police Survivors.

Nearly a third of those shooting deaths took place in just five incidents, including the April 4 ambush of Zone 5 officers Eric G. Kelly, Paul J. Sciullo II and Stephen J. Mayhle — the deadliest day in Pittsburgh police history.

The trio were fatally shot in Stanton Heights while responding to a domestic disturbance, the kind of call that proved especially dangerous for officers this year, resulting in 11 deaths nationally. Unprovoked ambush attacks, the report says, resulted in the deaths of six officers.

The report also noted the high-profile killings of four Oakland, Calif., officers in March, four Lakewood, Wash., officers in November, and the death this month of Penn Hills officer Michael Crawshaw.

Despite Sept. 11, 2001, when 72 officers died, the deadliest single day for police, the decade was among the safest for law enforcement. Still, the report offered little solace for some members of Pittsburgh’s force, which has taken measures to upgrade training and equipment for officers since the shootings.

“The pain of the heartbreaking losses of our brother officers,” remains “very fresh,” Assistant Chief William Bochter wrote in an e-mail last night. “We still feel the void of their absence on every shift, every day, in every duty location throughout the city. If the trend in the line of duty deaths continues to fall, it means that other departments and other families will be spared that pain.”

  • Sfa_iv_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    Bump Jonas

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago

    What is most alarming is those who were killed by gunfire this year. Let's be our brothers keeper and watch their six!! God bless all and have a safe and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50


    over 4 years ago


    wildsoldier, one of the most sobering thoughts ever uttered in my opinion. Let's hope it just keeps dropping. Stay safe LEOs.

  • Family_005_max50


    over 4 years ago


    I agree with clobster, it's hard to believe with the recent slaughters in Washington. Hope the trend continues but also agree with 357magnum, one is too many!

  • Picture_008_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6 remember that........

  • Warrior_knight_max50


    over 4 years ago


    One is one too many. Always be alert, the threat exists on a daily basis!!!

  • The_wall_max50


    over 4 years ago


    The number of Officers who died in total, may have decreased, but, Firearms deaths are up and the number of multiple Officers killed in a single incident have increased. Accidental Officer Deaths are down and this is great. The danger still are out there, we must train to win.

  • Justice-400_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good to hear, but not the case here in Washington, where it has more than tripled.

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