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Number of Police Who Died on Duty Declines Nationwide

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via YellowBrix

December 29, 2009

Traffic fatalities fell to 56 from 71 a year ago, a drop the report attributes to new laws requiring drivers to change lanes when emergency vehicles are stopped by the side of the road.

Only Texas, Florida and California recorded more officer fatalities than Pennsylvania, which saw seven deaths.

Richard Poplawski, 23, who police say was heavily armed and wearing a bulletproof vest, has been charged in the slayings of the three city officers.

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Spurred by that incident, city police ordered high-powered rifles as an effort to boost patrol officers’ firepower, among other measures.

Ronald Robinson, 32, has been charged with killing Officer Crawshaw in Penn Hills.

Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said it is important to keep the number of law enforcement deaths in perspective.

“Take a look at how many police officers are out there every day dealing the public and walking into potentially hostile situations and survive,” he said. “You have to take a look at things.”

Chief Burton said the increase firearms deaths is a concern, and the number of fatalities statewide is an unfortunate anomaly.

“I pray that the downward trend continues,” Chief Bochter said. “But the only acceptable number of officers killed in the line of duty is zero.”

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