Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Law enforcement officials are courageous individuals who dedicate their lives to keeping the peace and ensuring everyone abides by our given constructs of law and order.  Each day, they put their lives on the line when they put on their uniforms and leave their homes.  One can never know what to expect, and families of these brave individuals are always hoping to see their loved ones at the end of the day.  Unfortunately, not all officers end up making it home.  In 2018, the FBI reported that 106 officers were killed in the line of duty.  Of these, 55 officers lost their lives due to felony criminal acts and 51 lost their lives in unfortunate accidents. 

Officers Who Died Due to Feloneous Acts

There were nine more deaths of officers killed due to criminal acts in 2018 than there were just a year before, in 2017.  The average age of the officers killed was only 37 years of age and they had served for an average of 10 years.  52 of the fallen officers were male and 3 were female.  46 were white, 7 were black, and 2 were Pacific islanders. 

23 officers died while part of an investigation or other enforcement activity.  11 officers were ambushed and 4 were responding to crimes in progress.  Three officers were killed when apprehending a suspect and trying to cuff them, two were transporting prisoners, 2 were assisting on foot pursuits, and 2 were responding to routine disturbances or disorders.  One officer was killed while simply controlling traffic and another was killed completely unprovoked. 

Of the 55 fallen, 51 were killed by means of firearms and 4 were killed by vehicles.  A majority of these killings occurred in the southern states of the US.  Of the assailants committing these acts, 49 had prior arrests and 20were under some form of judicial supervision. 

While performing their regular duties, 51 law enforcement officers were killed.  This is an increase of three when compared to 2017 statistics.  34 of these officers were killed in car accidents. 

The average age of officers who were killed accidentally was 36, having worked an average of 10 years on the force.  47 males and 4 females were killed.  30 of the fallen officers were white, 8 were black, 3 were American Indian or Alaskan, and 1 was Asian. 

There were a number of causes of death.  Of the 34 officers who were killed by means of a vehicle, 29 were operating either cars, SUVs, trucks or vans and 5 were operating ATVs or motorcycles.  Nine were, unfortunately, pedestrian officers on the line of duty struck by vehicles.

Three officers accidentally drowned, 2 were killed in firearm-related incidental (accidentally), 1 was engaging in a foot pursuit, and 2 were responding to an incident where they were tragically struck by trains.    

Shockingly, of the officers who were killed in motor vehicle accidents, 15 were not wearing seatbelts.  This is a truly sad fact as many states have laws requiring seatbelt use.  Once again, most of these incidents occurred in the southern states of the US. 

While it may not seem like very many lives lost in the grand scheme of things, many of these deaths may have been avoided.  Our law enforcement goes out each day to serve and protect the public.  51 of these men and women were killed due to accidents, not even malicious intentions on the part of a criminal.  This goes to show that we need to place more of an emphasis on the work these brave individuals do.  Even if not directly responding to an incident, many still lose their lives, leaving behind family, friends, and other loved ones.  Statistically, the numbers are going up and we need to start taking action as a community to help lower them.   

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