FBI releases data on police officer deaths on duty

According to information released by the FBI in late October, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year; 72 officers died in accidents while performing their duties, and 53,469 officers were assaulted in the line of duty.

The 2010 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted provides comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks, according to the Tactical Wire.

The 56 felonious deaths occurred in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 increased by eight compared with the 2009 figure of 48 officers, but continues the drop from the 2001 number 2001 involving 70 officers.

Fifty-four of the victim officers were male, and two were female. Forty-eight of the officers were white, seven were black, and one was Asian/Pacific Islander.

Of the 56 officers feloniously killed, 15 were ambushed; 14 of the slain officers were involved in arrest situations; eight were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; seven were performing traffic stops/pursuits; six were answering disturbance calls; three were involved in tactical situations (e.g., high-risk entry); two were conducting investigative activity such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while transporting or maintaining custody of prisoners.

Offenders used firearms to kill 55 of the 56 victim officers. Of these 55 officers, 38 were slain with handguns, 15 with rifles, and two with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Regions: Twenty-two of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, and three in the Northeast. Three of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.

Law enforcement agencies identified 69 alleged assailants in connection with the 56 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Fifty-seven of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 19 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.

Of the 72 law enforcement officers killed in accidents while performing their duties in 2010, the majority of them (45 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was up 24 from the 2009 total (48 officers).

Holder tells IACP poor economy threatens cop jobs

Years of recession and a slow economic recovery could lead to a decrease in the number of police officers, the first such drop in a quarter of a century, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. warned the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) converence in Chicago in October, according to the Los Angeles Times.

While praising police chiefs for their efforts in the continuing decline in national crime rates, Holder warned that the latest report by the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office, showed that nearly 12,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies will be laid off because of budget cuts this year. In addition, police agencies have nearly 30,000 unfilled vacancies.

According to the COPS report, an estimated 28,000 officers and deputies have been forced off the job in weeklong furloughs in 2010 as cash-starved agencies tried to make ends meet. More than one-third of the agencies applying for federal grants reported a budget drop of greater than 5% between 2009 and 2011. Nearly a quarter of US cities have made a cut to public safety budgets.

“Of course—as cities, states and counties confront once-in-a-century financial constraints—this has never been more difficult,” Holder said of continuing progress against crime.

Holder urged the IACP to support the Obama administration’s jobs package with which Congress is wrestling.

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