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Statistics Show That Policing is Dangerous Work

So far this year, there have been 71 work-related deaths among law enforcement officers in the United States. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), this represents a 25 percent increase from the same time last year. Of these deaths, 28 of the fatalities were firearms-related, 27 were traffic-related and 16 resulted from some other cause.

California has the most on-the-job police fatalities – eight so far this year. New York, Florida, Texas and Virginia are tied for second place, with four fatalities each. Thirty-two states have seen law enforcement officers die in the line of duty in the past twelve months. According to NLEOMF, a law enforcement officer dies in the United States every 58 hours, on average.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (OFMP), 1,506 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in New York State since counting officer deaths began in the 18th century. The majority of those – 813 – have been New York City police officers. The most frequent cause of death has been gunfire. Car accidents and being struck by vehicles are the second most common causes of officer fatalities. Efforts to improve workplace safety for police officers can only go so far, as these numbers show.

Two recent officers recently died while on duty in New Jersey, one in Jersey City and the other near Waldwick. These are the first officer deaths in the state since 2012. There have been 470 line of duty deaths since the 18th century among New Jersey officers. Connecticut has had no police fatalities in the past twelve months and has had 136 deaths since record-keeping began.

Not surprisingly, the worst day for NYC law enforcement was September 11, 2001. On that day, 23 NYPD officers and 37 Port Authority officers died. However, even without horrible events such as 9/11, being a law enforcement officer is a highly dangerous job.

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, “Preliminary 2014 Fatality Statistics.”