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Line of duty deaths up 30 percent in first half of 2017

Posted by: Jennifer Gomori Posted date: November 17, 2017

— Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF)

Law enforcement line of duty deaths rose by 30 percent during the first half of 2017 compared to the same time period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).

NLEOMF officials issued the 2017 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report based on preliminary data through June 30, 2017, revealing that 65 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the first half of 2017. Fifty officers were killed in the line of duty in the first half of 2016.

Of these 65 officers, 26 were killed in traffic-related incidents, 23 were killed by gunfire and 16 died due to other causes, such as job-related illnesses.

“When our law enforcement officers put their badges on at the start of their shifts, they do so with the intention of protecting the citizens of their communities and this country,” said NLEOMF President and CEO Craig W. Floyd. “They risk their lives each day and it is outrageous that 65 officers have died in the line of duty in the first half of this year. Officers have been targeted for the job that they do, shot and killed or hit with vehicles. I ask all of our citizens to do their part to protect our law enforcement heroes, as they continue to protect us.


  •  Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of officer fatalities in the first half of 2017, increasing 24 percent – 26 deaths compared to 21 over the same period in 2016. Ten of the incidents were single-vehicle crashes, where an officer crashed without making impact with another vehicle. This represents an alarming 233 percent increase from the first half of last year, when three were killed in crashes. Additional circumstances are included in the report. Police Officers Labor Council member Jonathan Ginka, a Norton Shores, Mich. Officer, was one of those fatalities. Ginka, 34, died after his police vehicle crossed over the yellow line on the roadway and crashed into a tree during the early morning hours of May 10, 2017. The cause of the crash was listed as undetermined by Michigan State Police.
  • Firearms-related fatalities (23) rose slightly from 21 during the same period in 2016. Domestic-related incidents remain the leading cause of officers being shot and killed in the line of duty, with five in the first half of this year. Three officers were killed in ambush-style attacks as of June 30 and six were shot and killed in May, the most of any other month.
  • Sixteen officers died of other causes as of June 30, compared to eight in the first half of 2016. Deaths resulted from job-related illnesses. Five died from heart attacks; three from illnesses contracted during 9/11 rescue and recovery operations; two died in boating-related incidents; two were beaten to death; one drowned; one was stabbed to death; and one officer was poisoned.
  • The states with the most fatalities were Georgia and New York with five officer’s lives lost in the line of duty followed by California, Florida and Texas which each have had four officers killed. Three were killed in Louisiana as of June 30.

The National Law Enforcement Museum at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building, a project of the Memorial Fund, is under construction in Washington, DC. The Museum’s purpose is to strengthen the bond shared by law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Museum hosts free programs and workshops designed to educate the public about law enforcement policies and tactics. Expected to open in the fall of 2018, the Museum will feature exhibits and programs that address tough issues our country faces with open dialog amongst law enforcement, civic leaders and U.S. citizens.

A copy of the full report, “2017 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report,” is available at www.LawMemorial.org/FatalitiesReport.

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