Law Enforcement Officer Deaths Dropped Slightly to 89 in 2019

In 2019, 89 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents. Of those whose lives were taken, 48 officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 41 officers died in accidents, according to a report released Monday by the FBI National Press Office.

The number of officers killed (48) as a result of felonious criminal acts in 2019 was 8 less than the 56 officers who were killed in 2018.

Moreover, the 41 law enforcement officers who were killed in accidents while in the line of duty in 2019 is a decrease of 9 when compared to the 50 officers accidentally killed the year prior. 

“When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation,” Chris Cosgriff, the Founder of Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), which follows the data and publishes stories about the fallen officers, is quoted saying. 

The circumstances surrounding the 48 line of duty deaths as a result of a felonious criminal act, the majority (14) died as a result of an investigation, while 9 were involved in tactical situations, like barricaded/hostage situations or attempting to serve search/arrest warrants.

Out of the 41 accidental situations that result in police officer deaths were mainly (19) a result of motor vehicle crashes, while 3 were killed in firearm-related incidents.

The profile for the officers that were killed seems to be similar across both metrics, as the FBI found that the officers were on average 40 years old, had 11-13 years of on the job experience, and were predominantly white men. 

The FBI gathers its data from participating agencies across the nation through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. They then conduct in-depth research to make sure that every officer that meets the criteria is counted.  

The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) posted stories of some of the officers who lost their lives while in the line of duty. The list included NYPD Detective Brian Simonsen, who was shot and killed while responding to a robbery in February 2019, and Illinois State Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who was accidentally struck and killed while conducting a traffic stop in March 2019. 

ODMP, with the help of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, also diligently tracks police officer deaths in America, noting that there has been 61 line of duty deaths just in 2020.

In light of the pandemic, ODMP is also tracking law enforcement deaths as a result of the officers contracting the virus while on the job. So far, out of the 61 counted, 16 have been due to COVID-19.

Also released in January of this year, Blue HELP, a Massachusetts-based group that tracks officer suicides, found that at least 228 police officers died by suicide in 2019, making it the highest number ever recorded, The Crime Report detailed

The remaining portions of the FBI’s publication, which present data reported to the FBI’s UCR concerning officers assaulted in the line of duty in 2019, will be available during the fall of this year.

The full report can be accessed here.