According to the 2011 Mid-Year Office Fatality Report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, law enforcement officer deaths are up 14% from 2010.
This is a disturbing trend as 2010 also represented an increase in officer fatalities from the year prior (though 2009 thankfully represented lower than average total numbers of work related deaths).
Of the 98 officers who were killed during the first six months of this year,
- 40 officers died by gunfire
- 21 died in automobile crashes
- 16 deaths through job related illnesses
- 7 officers killed after being struck by automobiles
- 5 killed in motorcycle crashes
- 2 officers struck by a train
- 1 death per an aircraft crash
- 1 officer death due to beating
- 1 death due to electrocution
- 1 death due to a fall
- 1 death by bomb blast
- 1 officer was was crushed
- 1 officer was strangled
As Doug Wyllie, senior editor at Police One points out, the 2011 Mid-Year Fatality report is frustrating. He offers greater insight into the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of police safety.
What can be done to reduce the number of officer fatalities? A continued and concentrated focus on personal safety and partner safety is important. So is continued training, applying the correct tactics and use of proper equipment. Here are some other methods for staying while on duty.
While the majority of safety procedures are known to officers, there are other support systems in place to help supplement training. One example is the Police Officers Safety Association. Their guiding mission is: “to reduce the numbers of law enforcement officers injured and killed in the line of duty through training and education.” To learn more, visit the Police Officers Safety Association website.
If nothing more, hopefully the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund mid-year report helps to serve as a reminder that officer safety is extremely important and that a greater community of concerned individuals and entities continue to seek ways to make the law enforcement profession safer.
Be safe out there – Galls.