US Police Officer Fatalities Rising Again, Nonprofit Reports

MANHATTAN (CN) — Observing a 12 percent spike in police fatalities, an advocacy group reported Friday that more officers died from being shot to death than any other cause. 

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s president Craig Floyd found the data a “disappointing” shift from the previous year’s decline.

“Sadly, this reminds us that public safety is a dangerous job and can come at a very steep price,” Floyd said in a statement. “We must never take the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers for granted, and we must remember the families of the fallen who are left behind.” 

Founded in 1984, the Washington-based nonprofit said that of the 144 federal, state and local officers who died so far this year, 52 were shot to death. Handguns were the leading weapon used against police officers, and four were shot by their own weapons.

Traffic-related incidents killed 50 officers, making it the second leading cause of death on the job. Job-related illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke claimed the lives of 33 officers, and nearly half of them – 15 officers – died of cancers related to recovery efforts responding to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

New Jersey State Trooper Robert Nagle was one of the officers who died of a 9/11-related illness on Nov. 26, 2018, the group noted.

“Texas, Florida, California and New York experienced the largest number of officer fatalities in 2018, with 11 each,” the 13-page report states. 

The average age of fallen officers was 42.

Most of the fallen officers are men (134), though 10 women in blue also died. Among this group was Deputy Sheriff Farrah Turner of Florence County, South Carolina, killed by gunfire in October.

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