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FBI Releases 2010 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

Washington, D.C. October 24, 2011
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

According to information released today by the FBI, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year; 72 officers died in accidents while performing their duties; and 53,469 officers were assaulted in the line of duty. The 2010 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted released today provides comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks.

Felonious Deaths

The 56 felonious deaths occurred in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 increased by eight compared with the 2009 figure (48 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of eight felonious deaths compared with the 2006 figure (48 officers), and a decrease of 14 deaths compared with data from 2001 (70 officers).

Officer Profiles: Among the officers who were feloniously killed, the average age was 38 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 10 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Fifty-four of the victim officers were male, and two were female. Forty-eight of the officers were white, seven were black, and one was Asian/Pacific Islander.

Circumstances: Of the 56 officers feloniously killed, 15 were ambushed; 14 of the slain officers were involved in arrest situations; eight were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; seven were performing traffic stops/pursuits; six were answering disturbance calls; three were involved in tactical situations (e.g., high-risk entry); two were conducting investigative activity such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while transporting or maintaining custody of prisoners.

Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 55 of the 56 victim officers. Of these 55 officers, 38 were slain with handguns, 15 with rifles, and two with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Regions: Twenty-two of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, and three in the Northeast. Three of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.

Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 69 alleged assailants in connection with the 56 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Fifty-seven of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 19 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.

Accidental Deaths

Of the 72 law enforcement officers killed in accidents while performing their duties in 2010, the majority of them (45 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was up 24 from the 2009 total (48 officers).

Assaults

In 2010, 53,469 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.1 percent suffered injuries. The largest percentage of victim officers (33.0 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (family quarrels, bar fights, etc.). Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 81.8 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.4 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.7 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.1 percent of assaults.

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2010, is available exclusively on the FBI’s website at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr.