Bulletin Reports

2013 Law Enforcement Fatalities—Lowest Rate in 60 Years

On December 30, 2013, preliminary data was released from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund regarding officers who died in the line of duty. According to the data compiled, 111 officers died in 2013, an 8 percent decrease from 2012, when 121 officer fatalities occurred. The number of deaths in 2013 is the lowest since 1959, when 110 officers died.

Traffic-related fatalities, killing 46 officers, were the leading cause of deaths in 2013. There were 31 law enforcement officers killed in automobile accidents, 11 struck and killed outside their vehicles, and 4 killed in motorcycle crashes. Traffic-related deaths decreased by 4 percent from the previous year, when 48 officers were killed.

Firearms-related incidents, the second leading cause of officer deaths, accounted for 33 fatalities. This is a 126-year low, the lowest since 1887, when 27 officers were shot and killed. Deaths from firearms-related incidents decreased 33 percent from 2012, when 49 officers died. Ambush attacks, killing 7 officers, were the leading cause of fatal shootings. Handguns were the principal type of firearm used.

Officer fatalities unrelated to firearms or traffic incidents increased 33 percent from 2012 to 2013, with 32 officers dying from other causes. Deaths from job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, increased in 2013 with 18 officer fatalities, compared with 8 in 2012. Texas had the highest number of officer fatalities, while 16 states and the District of Columbia did not lose any officers in 2013.

Additional information on 2013 law enforcement fatalities may be obtained from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website at http://www.nleomf.org/facts/research-bulletins/.