Death Toll for Police Officers is Rising Despite Decline in Crime

Jul 20, 2011

By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY

Updated 2m

By Darron Cummings, AP

The death toll for police officers, including those fatally shot in the line of duty, is on pace to rise for the second straight year, despite a sustained decline in violent crime across the country, USA TODAY’s Kevin Johnson reports.

Johnson says that a midyear report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which closely tracks law enforcement fatalities, finds that overall officer deaths are up 14% in 2011, while deadly shootings have increased by 33%.

If fatal shootings continue at the current rate, gunfire-related deaths would represent the primary cause of officer fatalities this year. For the past 13 years, traffic accidents have accounted for the largest number of officer deaths.

According to the police organization, deadly shootings reached a 20-year high in the first half of this year, with 40 officers killed by gunfire, up from 30 in 2010.

More than a quarter of the fatal shootings occurred in January — the deadliest month so far this year — when 11 were killed. In one 24-hour period in January, 11 officers were shot, resulting in three deaths.

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