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Officers Accidentally Killed

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This page provides information regarding accidental line-of-duty deaths of duly sworn city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers who met the same criteria as officers feloniously killed.

Overview

  • In 2011, 53 law enforcement officers died as the result of accidents that occurred in the line of duty.
  • Accidental line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers occurred in 23 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Twenty-three of the officers accidentally killed were employed by city police departments, 14 were employed by county agencies, 12 were employed by state agencies, and 3 were employed by federal agencies.  One of the officers accidentally killed was employed in Puerto Rico.

More information about these topics (including annual totals from 2002 to 2011) is provided in Tables 48, 49, 59, 60, and 64.

Victim profile

  • The average age of the officers who died accidentally in 2011 was 41 years.
  • The average length of law enforcement service for the officers accidentally killed in the line of duty was 13 years.
  • Of the officers who were accidentally killed, 45 were white, 7 were black, and 1 officer was Asian/Pacific Islander. 
  • 50 of the officers were male; 3 were female.

More information about these topics is provided in Tables 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, and 58.

Circumstances

Of the officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2011:

  • 30 died as a result of automobile accidents. 
  • 5 were struck by vehicles.
  • 4 officers died in motorcycle accidents.
  • 4 were accidentally shot as a result of crossfire or other firearm mishaps.
  • 3 officers died as a result of drowning.
  • 1 was killed in a fall.
  • 1 died in an aircraft accident.
  • 5 officers died as a result of other types of accidents.

Of the 5 officers struck by vehicles:

  • 3 were executing traffic stops or roadblocks.
  • 2 were directing traffic or assisting motorists.

More information about this topic (including a complete breakdown of the types of circumstances in which officers accidentally died) is provided in Tables 61, 62, 63, and 64.

Assignments

  • 29 of the on-duty officers accidentally killed in 2011 were alone at the time of the accidents. 
  • 22 on-duty officers had assistance at the time of their fatal accidents.
  • 2 officers were off duty.

More information about this topic is included in Tables 59, 60, 62, and 63.

Regional and outlying area breakdowns

Of the officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2011:

  • 27 were employed by law enforcement agencies in the South.
  • 10 were employed by law enforcement agencies in the West.
  • 8 officers were employed by law enforcement agencies in the Northeast.
  • 7 were employed by law enforcement agencies in the Midwest.
  • 1 was employed by a law enforcement agency in Puerto Rico.

More information about this topic (including annual totals from 2002 to 2011) is provided in Table 48.

Months, days, and times of incidents

  • In 2011, the greatest number of accidents resulting in the deaths of law enforcement officers (8) occurred in March and May.
  • More officers were fatally injured in accidents on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in 2011, with 10 officers accidentally killed on each of these days.
  • 31 officers were fatally injured in accidents that occurred between the hours of 12:01 p.m. and midnight.
  • 22 officers were killed in accidents occurring between 12:01 a.m. and noon.

More information about these topics (including annual totals from 2002 to 2011) is provided in Tables 50, 51, and 52.