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COVID-19 impacts decline in duty deaths in first half of 2022

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: July 15, 2022


Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and 2022 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report

Law Enforcement fatalities fell 31 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021, with COVID-19 continuing to impact line-of-duty deaths, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.

In the first six months of this year, 129 federal, state, county, municipal, military, campus, and tribal officers have died in the line of duty compared to 188 officers killed during the same period in 2021.

While COVID-19 continues to be the leading cause of death so far this year, there has been a sizeable reduction in case-related deaths. Fifty-four officers have succumbed to the disease in the first half of 2022, compared to 98 officers in the same period in 2021, a 45 percent decrease, NLEOMF announced in its official 2022 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.

The deadliest year on record for law enforcement was 2021 when 472 officers were killed in the line of duty.

“As the leading authority in line-of-duty death research and data, the publication of the 2022 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report is an opportunity for us to share with the public the rate at which we are losing our heroes, as well as what’s behind the data,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “With zero officer fatalities as our ultimate goal, observing comparatively lower numbers in line-of-duty deaths provides us with cautious hope for those who’ve made a commitment to serve and protect our communities.”

Firearms-related deaths increased 18 percent with 33 officers killed from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2022 compared to 28 officers killed during the same period last year. The 2022 firearms fatalities include: nine officers handling domestic disturbance calls; six investigating disturbance calls; three attempting an arrest; and three responding to burglary or robbery in-progress calls. Two officers were shot to death in each of these circumstances: handling suspicious persons/activities calls; traffic enforcement; serving warrants; officer ambushes; and handling/transporting prisoners. One officer was killed due to mistaken identity and another during a tactical encounter.

Traffic-related fatalities declined 9 percent from 34 deaths by mid-year 2021 to 31 deaths in 2022. However, officers involved in deadly vehicle crashes, 20 so far in 2022 compared to 16 in the first half of 2021, represent an increase of 25 percent. Of the 31 traffic-related deaths: 14 were automobile crashes with another vehicle or fixed object; five were single-vehicle crashes; one officer died in a motorcycle crash; and 11 were struck by drivers while outside patrol vehicles.

By state, Texas had the most fatalities, with 25 line-of-duty deaths. California had 10, followed by Alabama with eight officer deaths. Tennessee and New York each lost six officers in the line of duty; five officers were killed in Missouri; four each died in Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma; three each in Michigan, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Washington; two each in Arizona, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio and South Carolina; and there was one line-of-duty death each in Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, South Dakota and West Virginia. Six federal officers and one tribal officer have also died so far this year.

The statistics released are based on preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2023.

Click on the links below for a complete copy of the 2022 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report or for details about NLEOMF’s free July 28, 2022 Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Summit.

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