According to preliminary statistics released last week by the FBI, 56 of our nation’s law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty during 2010. By region, 22 victims were killed in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, three in the Northeast, and three in Puerto Rico. The total number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 was eight more than the
48 officers slain in 2009. Of these 56 felonious deaths, 15 officers were killed during ambushes (13 during unprovoked attacks and two due to entrapment/premeditation situations), eight were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, seven were killed during traffic pursuits/stops, six of the fallen officers interrupted robberies in progress or were pursuing robbery suspects, and six were responding to disturbance calls (four of them being domestic disturbances). Three of the officers interrupted burglaries in progress or were pursuing burglary suspects, three died during tactical situations, two were conducting investigations, one officer was handling or transporting a prisoner, one was killed during a drug-related conflict, and four of the officers were attempting to make arrests for other offenses. Offenders used firearms in all but one of the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in 2010. Thirty-eight of the fallen officers were killed with handguns, 15 with rifles, and two with shotguns. The only officer who was not a victim of firearms was killed with a vehicle. Of the 56 victim officers, 38 were wearing body armor at the times of their deaths. Sixteen of the victim officers fired their own weapons, and seven officers attempted to use their own weapons. Seven victim officers had their weapons stolen; seven officers were killed with their own weapons.
The 56 victim officers were killed in 51 separate incidents. Forty-nine of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means. In addition to the officers who were feloniously killed in 2010, 72 officers were killed in accidents. This is an increase of 24 officers when compared with the 48 officers who were accidentally killed in 2009.
The FBI will release final statistics on officers killed and assaulted in the line of duty in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, which will be published on the website in the fall.