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Police Fatalities Fall in 2009

Police Fatalities Fall in 2009

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USA Today via YellowBrix

December 31, 2009

Five ambush-style incidents that ended in the shooting deaths of 15 police officers are putting a damper on a positive trend this year: The number of officers who died in the line of duty was the lowest in 50 years.

“It really is a classic good news-bad news story,” says Craig Floyd, chairman and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which releases its preliminary 2009 statistics today.

The non-profit group reports that 124 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty this year, down 7% from last year and the lowest number since 1959.

“When you consider there are three times the number of officers serving today … that makes the numbers even more favorable,” Floyd says.

The decrease is overshadowed by the spike in the number of officers killed by gunfire — 15 in multiple shootings, the most of any year since 1981.

The total number of officers shot and killed surged 23% since last year to 48. More than 30% of the deaths happened in five incidents where one shooter killed several officers.

“It tells us we have an increasing number of coldblooded criminals on the streets of America,” Floyd says.

CRIME STATISTICS: Murder total declines

The latest incident was in November in Lakewood, Wash., where four officers were shot and killed in a coffee shop. In April, three Pittsburgh police officers were ambushed by a gunman as they responded to a domestic disturbance call.

“The officers did nothing wrong,” says Bill Bochter, assistant chief with the Pittsburgh police. “We’ve got good soft body armor, excellent tactics and incredibly well-trained trauma units. All of that helps but, unfortunately, I don’t know if there’s a way to prevent it when someone is intent on taking officers’ lives in an ambush.”

The overall drop in police fatalities was driven largely by a big dip in traffic-related deaths. Traffic incidents remain the leading cause of officer deaths for 12 years in a row, but the number dropped 21% to 56 this year.

Officers are getting better training in high-speed driving, Floyd says. Other findings:

• The deadliest single day in recent law enforcement history was Sept. 11, 2001, when 72 officers were killed in the terrorist attacks. Despite that, the decade may end up being one of the safest.

• Domestic disturbance calls are the most dangerous for police. Eleven officers died answering such calls — almost 23% of all shooting deaths.

• For the third consecutive year, Texas, Florida and California had the most police fatalities.


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  • Drknite_max50

    drknite298

    over 4 years ago

    474 Comments

    I think the penality needs to be increased and no plea outs for any assault on LEOs nation wide.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I am very glad to the LODD's were down this year, but just thinking back through the kind of year that it was, just makes me hang my head! I pray the 2010 is even better!

  • Iii_max50

    ill_taze_u_bro

    over 4 years ago

    2844 Comments

    Bitter sweet.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    over 4 years ago

    5220 Comments

    I agree with suprtrkr.

  • P1010058_max50

    suprtrkr

    over 4 years ago

    672 Comments

    One Officer killed in the line of duty is one to many for me. I would like to read a statistic that says Criminals have died more this year than any other year because LE is prepared due to ample training and being sick and tired of losing there own.

  • Sw12_max50

    436

    over 4 years ago

    574 Comments

    I hate statistics! This was a terrible year for LEO's being gunned down by trash. Tell all the LEO families that lost someone to gunfire that this was a "good news-bad news" statistic. Makes me sick!!!

  • Cot_max50

    hbg522

    over 4 years ago

    7006 Comments

    YES the count was down, but 2009 has been one of the hardest hit years in a long time in my opinion. wish everyone a safe 2010 and hope the numbers continue to drop.

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