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Gun violence in the US

Deaths of police officers on duty rises in the US

  • The most common causes of death were gunfire and road accidents
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 9:22am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 December, 2018, 9:22am

More police officers have died in the line of duty this year in the United States than in 2017, according to data released on Thursday. The most common cause of death was gunfire, with road accidents claiming nearly as many officers’ lives.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said in a report that 144 federal, state and local officers have died so far in 2018. That figure represents roughly a 12 per cent increase from the 129 who died in 2017.

Most the officers who died were either shot – 52 this year, up from 46 in 2017 – or fatally injured in car or motorcycle crashes, which accounted for 50 deaths. Other fatalities involved heart attacks, strokes, drowning and cancer and other illnesses among those who responded to the September 11 World Trade Centre attack.

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Of the officers who were shot, eight were killed during investigative activity and six were killed while responding to calls of a domestic or public disturbance, according to the report. Two were fatally shot while serving warrants, two died while handling or transporting prisoners and two others were accidentally shot by other officers.

Craig Floyd, the fund’s chief executive officer, called the increase in deaths disappointing after a decline in 2017.

“Sadly this reminds us that public safety is a dangerous job and can come at a very steep price,” Floyd said. “We must never take the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers for granted and we must remember the families of the fallen who are left behind.”

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Of the officers who died in road incidents, 32 were killed in crashes involving another vehicle and 14 were struck while outside their vehicle. An additional four were killed in motorcycle crashes.

The officers who died in 2018 include a sheriff’s deputy in Sacramento County, California, killed in a shoot-out at a car parts shop; a Greensboro, North Carolina, police officer killed in a car crash while responding to a call about a robbery; and a Greene County, Missouri, sheriff’s deputy who drowned when his car was swept away in a flood.

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The states that experienced the highest number of officer fatalities were Texas, California, Florida and New York, with 11 each.