There have been 73 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty so far in 2018, a seven percent increase over the same period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The organization’s 2018 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report, which offers preliminary data through June 30, said the number of fatalities is up from 65 at this time in 2017.
Of the 73 deceased officers, 31 died in firearms-related incidents, 27 died in traffic-related incidents and 15 died due to other causes such as job-related illnesses.
“Law enforcement officers put their badges on each day and work to keep citizens and communities safe,” said Memorial Fund CEO Craig W. Floyd. “With 73 officers having made the ultimate sacrifice already this year, this report serves as an important reminder of the debt of gratitude that we owe the 900,000 men and women who serve in law enforcement each day.”
Key findings of the report:
– The leading cause of law enforcement deaths for the first half of this year is firearms-related fatalities with 31, compared to 25 in the same period in 2017 — an increase of 24 percent. Eight of these deaths occurred during an attempt to arrest a suspect, six officers died responding to domestic disturbance calls and three died as a result of being ambushed.
– Traffic-related fatalities at 27 increased slightly in the first half of 2018 compared to last year at 26. Eleven of these fatalities were the result of multiple-vehicle automobile crashes; nine were the result of single-vehicle crashes and seven officers were struck while outside of their vehicles.
– Florida leads the country in officer fatalities, losing seven officers in the line of duty for the first half of 2018; New York, North Carolina and Texas each lost four officers. California, Kentucky, Ohio, and South Carolina each lost three officers as of June 30.
The National Law Enforcement Museum, a project of the Memorial Fund, is scheduled to open in D.C. on Oct. 13.
The museum’s goal is to expand and enrich the relationship shared by law enforcement and the communities they serve while providing visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience.
“It’s important for our citizenry to protect America’s peace officers with the same dedication and commitment they show each day in protecting us,” Floyd said.