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Law Enforcement line-of-duty fatalities decrease in first half of 2020

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: July 16, 2020


COVID-19 poised to become leading cause of deaths

While this year’s Law Enforcement line-of-duty deaths have fallen 14 percent when compared to the first half of 2019, pending COVID-19 cases could cause deaths to skyrocket in comparison.

There were 65 line-of-duty deaths through June 30, 2020, according to preliminary data reported in the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum’s 2020 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.

Twenty-seven officers were killed in firearms-related incidents, 26 died in traffic-related incidents, and 12 died from other causes, such as job-related illnesses including five confirmed COVID-19 related officer deaths.

However, another 53 COVID-19 cases are pending. After pending cases are confirmed, total mid-year deaths could soar as high as 118 – a 55 percent increase compared to the first six months of 2020. If that happens, coronavirus would become the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for the first half of 2020.

“The numbers so far this year show a 14 percent decrease in overall officer line-of-duty deaths, and while we’re pleased to see this trend, the data shows there’s still a great deal of work to be done to keep these officers’ names off the Memorial walls,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “We also cannot ignore the severe impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the brave men and women who serve, as well as the impact on their families.”

The leading cause of death in 2020 – firearms-related fatalities – declined four percent from 28 in mid-year 2019 to 27 in the first six months of 2020. Nine of these deaths occurred while investigating a suspicious person or activity. Five officers were killed while attempting to make arrests; three died responding to domestic disturbance calls and three were killed in tactical situations. Other circumstances are detailed in the 2020 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.

Traffic-related fatalities were up eight percent from 24 in mid-year 2019 to 26 in the first half of 2020. Nine officer deaths involved crashes with another vehicle or fixed object; seven died in single-vehicle crashes and nine were struck outside of their vehicles. One officer died in a motorcycle crash.

The number of officers who died of other causes remained the same for both time periods – 12 by mid-year 2019 and 2020. Five 2020 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 related illness. One officer died in a helicopter crash. Other causes include heart attack, stroke and 9/11-related illnesses.

Texas had the most (11) line-of-duty fatalities in the nation for mid-year 2020 followed by: five in California; and three officers each in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Six states lost two officers and 14 states had one officer death by June 30, 2020. One federal officer and one tribal officer were killed in the line of duty by mid-year.

Please click here for the complete 2020 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.

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