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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 01:44 AM CDT

US law enforcement deaths fall to 50-year low, report finds

Police StateThe number of law enforcement deaths dropped to its lowest level in 54 years in 2013, according to a report published on Monday. One hundred and eleven officers died on duty this year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said. The figure marks a decrease from 120 deaths in 2012 and 169 in 2011, and it is the lowest number of law enforcement fatalities since 1959, when 110 officers died on the job.

The number of law enforcement deaths dropped to its lowest level in 54 years in 2013, according to a report published on Monday.

One hundred and eleven officers died on duty this year, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said. The figure marks a decrease from 120 deaths in 2012 and 169 in 2011, and it is the lowest number of law enforcement fatalities since 1959, when 110 officers died on the job.

The preliminary data shows that traffic accidents were the leading cause of officer death, with 46 killed. The second leading cause of death was firearms, which accounted for 33 officer fatalities.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a private non-profit organisation that promotes officer safety and remembrance, publishes an annual bulletin that documents the number and type of law enforcement officer deaths. The data includes federal, state, local, municipal, tribal, territorial and university officers.

Texas saw the biggest number of officer fatalities in 2013, NLEOMF said, with 13 officers having died there. In California, 10 officers died on duty, and seven died in both Mississippi and New York.

“We’re trying to get it to where officer injuries and deaths are no longer accepted as an unavoidable part of the job,” said Craig Floyd, NLEOMF chairman and CEO. He said there had been an increased emphasis on officer safety at a federal level after a spike in officer deaths in 2012 and 2011 – when 120 and 169 officers were killed, respectively.

Changes as simple as asking officers to wear body armour and fasten their seatbelts have made a difference, Floyd said.

“More than 30% of the officers killed in the line of duty over the past two years were not wearing their body armour. Forty-two percent of the officers killed in auto crashes the last couple of years were not wearing their seatbelts.”

Upwards of 90% of agencies now require their officers to wear bullet resistant vests, an increase from 60% in 2009, Floyd noted, and he pointed to other new policies, including officers being prohibited from engaging in high speed pursuits except in certain situations, as another factor.

In 2013, the third highest cause of officer death was job-related illness, which was responsible for 18 deaths, including 14 officers who died as a result of heart attacks linked to particularly stressful incidents while on duty.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for data on the number of people killed by police in 2013.

Between 2003 and 2009, an average of 687 civilians died each year during the process of arrest, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. In total, 4,813 people died while being arrested over the seven-year period.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013...0-year-low
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