124 Law Enforcement Officers Killed Nationwide in 2015
42 officers shot and killed—52 died in traffic-related incidents
Washington, DC—Law enforcement fatalities nationwide rose slightly during 2015, with 124 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers killed in the line of duty, according to preliminary data compiled and released today by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) in their 2015 Law Enforcement Fatalities Report.
The 124 officer fatalities in 2015 represented a four percent increase from the 119 officers who died in the line of duty in 2014. Of the 124 officers who died this year, 52 died in traffic-related incidents, 42 were killed by gunfire and 30 died as a result of other causes.
The number of officers killed by firearms in 2015 (42) was 14 percent lower than the 49 who died as a result of gunfire in 2014. Traffic stops resulted in seven of those shooting deaths, more than any other category of felonious fatalities in 2015. Two of those officers, Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate of the Hattiesburg (MS) Police Department, were gunned down in a traffic stop they conducted on May 9.
Ambush attacks against officers were the second leading cause of shooting deaths in 2015, accounting for six fatalities. Among them was Harris County (TX) Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth, who was shot 15 times in an unprovoked attack after filling his marked cruiser up at a local gas station on August 28. Fifty-two officers were killed in traffic-related incidents this past year, which was six percent higher than the 49 who died on roadways in 2014. Traffic-related incidents have been the leading cause of officer deaths in 15 of the last 20 years.
Thirty officers died due to other causes in 2015, including 24 who suffered from job-related illnesses—mostly heart attacks—while performing their duties. Also included among those 24 are four officers who died of illnesses they contracted as a result of their rescue and recovery work following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
There are more than 20,000 names of officers killed in the line of duty inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, dating back to the first known death in 1791. Over the past decade (2005-2014) the average annual number of officer fatalities has been 145. The deadliest year on record for law enforcement was 1930 when 300 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty. The last time officer fatalities dipped below 100 for a single year was 1944.
The statistics released are based on preliminary data compiled by the NLEOMF and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2016. For a complete copy of the preliminary report on 2015 law enforcement fatalities, go to: www.LawMemorial.org/FatalitiesReport.
Key Data as of December 28, 2015:
"Each year as we issue this fatality report, we are reminded of the vital service and supreme sacrifice given by our nation's law enforcement officers," declared NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd. "There has been a lot of criticism and second-guessing directed at law enforcement this past year, but we must never forget that 124 officers gave up their lives for our safety and protection. Another 900,000 officers put their lives on the line every day. We owe all of those men and women a huge debt of gratitude."
About the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund is now working to create the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will tell the story of law enforcement through high-tech, interactive exhibitions, historical artifacts and extensive educational programming. For more information, visit www.LawMemorial.org.