Increase in U.S. Law Enforcement Officers Being Killed

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FBI - Law Enforcement Officers

According to the FBI’s 2016 report on Law Enforcement Officers Killed & Assaulted (LEOKA), which was recently released, 118 officers were killed and 57,180 assaulted while in the line of duty. Of the number of deaths, 66 were the result of felonious acts and 52 were considered accidental.

In addition, a total of 57,180 law enforcement officers were assaulted on the job, with nearly 30% being injured in these assaults.

This report shows that the numbers of deaths among U.S. law enforcement were higher in 2016 than in 2015, when 41 officers were feloniously killed and 45 were accidentally killed on the job.

There were a total of 50,212 assaults on law enforcement officers detailed in the LEOKA report from 2015, which shows a slight decrease in the number of assaults in 2016, compared to 2015.

The LEOKA report for 2014 says that 27 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed that year while 49 officers were killed accidentally in the line of duty.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program gathers data on the circumstances of each officer’s death as well those surrounding any assaults on law enforcement. The data comes from federal, state, tribal, local and campus law enforcement agencies along with information from non-profit organizations and FBI field offices that track deaths occurring in the line of duty. The LEOKA Program incorporates this data into officer safety training programs given to law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

Regarding the 66 officers killed as a result of criminal activity:

  • They averaged 40 years of age.
  • They had, on average, spent 13 years in law enforcement.
  • Of the officers who were feloniously killed, 64 were men and 2 were women.
  • 62 officers died by firearms and 51 of them had body armor on when they were killed.
  • 4 officers were intentionally killed with a vehicle.
  • The most frequent circumstances in which officers were killed on the job were by being ambushed (17), followed by responding to a disturbance (13), and looking into suspicious circumstances or people (9).

Regarding the 52 law enforcement officers who were accidentally killed:

  • They averaged 38 years of age.
  • They had, on average, spent 11 years in law enforcement.
  • Of the 52 officers killed accidentally, 50 were men and 2 were women.
  • 50% of officers accidentally killed in 2016 were killed as the result of an auto accident. In addition, vehicles hit 12 officers and 7 others were involved in motorcycle accidents.

The 2016 LEOKA report includes a totally separate section the numbers of federal law enforcement officers who were assaulted or killed on the job. The report states that 324 federal law enforcement officers were injured and 1 was killed in 2016.

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