November 19, 2012
According to the FBI, 72 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2011. Another 53 officers died in accidents while performing their duties, and 54,774 officers were assaulted in the line of duty. Comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks are included in the 2011 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today.
The 72 felonious deaths occurred in 30 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2011 increased by 16 when compared with the 2010 figure (56 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 14 felonious deaths compared with the 2007 figure (58 officers) and an increase of 16 deaths compared with 2002 data (56 officers).
Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 38. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 12 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Sixty-nine of the officers were male, and three were female. Sixty-eight of the officers were white, three were black, and one was American Indian/Alaskan Native.
Circumstances: Of the 72 officers feloniously killed, 23 were killed in arrest situations, 15 were ambushed, 11 were involved in performing traffic pursuits/stops, nine were involved in tactical situations, and seven were answering disturbance calls. Five of the slain officers were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; one was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while transporting or maintaining the custody of prisoners.
Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 63 of the 72 victim officers. Of these 63 officers, 50 were slain with handguns, seven with rifles, and six with shotguns. Six officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons. Two victim officers were killed with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.). One officer was killed with a knife or other cutting instrument.
Regions: Twenty-nine of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 21 in the Midwest, 10 in the West, and 10 in the Northeast. Two of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.
Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 77 alleged assailants in connection with the 72 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Sixty-four of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 17 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.
Fifty-three officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2011. The majority (30 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was down 19 from the 2010 total (72 officers).
In 2011, 54,774 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.6 percent suffered injuries. The largest percentage of victim officers (33.3 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.9 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.0 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 14.3 percent of assaults.