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Law enforcement fatalities up 7% from same period last year

A Message from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Chairman Craig Floyd

Friends: I am having the following information posted on PoliceOne because you're used to getting from us the latest news and information regarding the safety and security of our nation's law enforcement officers. I want to make sure you know about this before we inform the general public: Through the beginning of July, law enforcement fatalities are ahead of last year's pace. Thus far this year, 82 federal, state and local officers have made the ultimate sacrifice. I know you share my feeling that this is 82 too many. Please forward this information to your peers and colleagues, and tell them what the NLEOMF is doing to make sure all of our law enforcement officers — past, present, and future — get the recognition they deserve.

Law Enforcement Fatalities Up 7% From Same Period Last Year

The number of police officers killed nationwide during the first half of 2004 rose by more than seven percent over the same period last year.

Eighty-two federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during the first six months of 2004, according to preliminary numbers recently released jointly by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Concerns of Police Survivors. This represents more than a seven percent increase from the 76 officers who lost their lives during the same period a year ago.

Over the last 10 years, an average of 166 officers have died annually. "I am troubled by the increasing loss of life represented in these numbers," said NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd. "Despite all that is being done to make policing safer, including better training and use of the best equipment available, we are still seeing a very alarming rate of fatalities among our law enforcement professionals."

Of the 82 officers, 33 were shot, 24 died in automobile accidents, nine officers succumbed to job-related illnesses, and seven were struck by automobiles while outside of their own vehicles, four died in motorcycle accidents, two officers were killed in an aircraft accident, one officer was beaten to death, one officer drowned, and one officer fell to his death.

"While the number of police deaths is staggering, the most tragic part of the story is the families left behind," observed COPS National President Shirley Gibson, mother of Brian Gibson, a D.C. Police Officer who was shot and killed in 1997. "They need and deserve the prayers and support of their community and their country during this very difficult time in their lives."

California was the deadliest state for law enforcement officers with 10 deaths during the first six months of 2004. Alabama ranked second with eight fatalities, followed by Florida and Texas with seven fatalities, and Michigan and Pennsylvania with five fatalities each. Two of the officers who died during the first half of the year were women.

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