Today the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a new report with preliminary data through July 20, 2016, revealing that 67 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in 2016—an eight percent increase over the same period last year (62)..
Firearms-related fatalities (32) spiked 78 percent in the first half of this year from 18 during the same period last year. Of particular concern, ambush-style killings of law enforcement officers have dramatically increased more than 300 percent from the same period in 2015. Fourteen officers were shot and killed in ambushes, seven officers were killed stopping a suspicious person and five officers were killed while executing a tactical arrest or high-risk warrants. Additional circumstances are included in the 2016 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.
Traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause of officer fatalities, with 24 officers killed during the reporting period—a 17 percent decrease over the same period last year (29). Thirteen officers were killed in automobile crashes involving another vehicle; five officers were struck while outside of their vehicle; four officers were killed in motorcycle crashes and two officers were killed in single-vehicle crashes. The two single-vehicle crashes are a 78 percent decrease from nine during the same period last year—an early indication that progress is being made reducing these preventable deaths.
Eleven officers died due to other causes such as job-related illnesses in the first half of 2016, compared to 16 officer deaths during the same time last year—a 31 percent decrease. Heart attacks were the cause of six officer deaths, two officers fell to their death, one officer died in an aircraft crash, one officer was beaten to death and one officer drowned.
Texas led all states with 13 officer fatalities; followed by Louisiana with seven officer deaths. California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia all lost three officers thus far in 2016.
The Memorial Fund is currently constructing the National Law Enforcement Museum, which will help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Museum currently hosts discussions and free programming designed to educate the public about law enforcement policies and tactics. When the Museum opens in 2018, it will tackle tough issues our country faces with open dialog amongst law enforcement, civic leaders and the citizenry.
“Each day some 900,000 men and women work to keep our communities safe, and we owe each of them a debt of gratitude,” declared NLEOMF President and CEO Craig W. Floyd. “All American citizens should be outraged at the number of officers who have been targeted, shot and killed this year. The brutal assassinations of law enforcement officers in Texas and Louisiana shocked our nation and we saw similar ambush attacks on officers in other parts of the country earlier this year. Public safety is a partnership. Thankfully, the vast majority of Americans clearly support and appreciate the vital role law enforcement plays in our society. So, now is the time for all law-abiding citizens to partner with law enforcement in support of safe communities.”
A copy of the full report, “2016 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report,” is available at www.LawMemorial.org/FatalitiesReport.