Barring any late additions to the list, the nation saw 135 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016, a report notes.
The annual report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) finds that the loss reported for this year is ten percent higher than the 123 police fatalities for 2015. The 2016 toll is also the highest since the year 2011, when 177 police officers lost their lives.
The report also found an alarming increase in incidents with more than one police officer being gunned down at once. “Eight multiple-shooting death incidents claimed the lives of 20 officers in 2016, tied with 1971 for the highest total of any year since 1932,” the reports says.
Firearms remained the number one cause for officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Fifty-six percent of those killed were felled by gunfire.
The list of causes reads as follows:
- Firearms: 64 officers, 56 percent
- Traffic accidents: 48 officers, 53 percent
- Other causes: 18 officers
In the latter category, 11 officers died from job-related illnesses (such as heart attacks), three were beaten to death, one drowned, and one each died from a fall, an airplane crash, and a stabbing.
Of the total killed this year, six were women officers.
The most dangerous state for police officer deaths was Texas (17), followed by California (10), Louisiana (9), Georgia (8), and Michigan (6). In addition, six federal law enforcement officers died in 2015, along with four members of police agencies in Puerto Rico and one tribal officer killed in an August automobile crash in Arizona.
“Public safety is a partnership and, too often, the service and sacrifice of our law enforcement professionals is taken for granted,” observed NLEOMF President and CEO Craig W. Floyd, adding:
We must never forget that 900,000 law enforcement officers nationwide risk their lives every day for our safety and protection. And, this year, 135 of those men and women did not make it home to their families at the end of their shift. As we begin the new year, let us all resolve to respect, honor, and remember those who have served us so well and sacrificed so much in the name of public safety.
The organization currently marks the names of 20,789 American law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.