Home News Press Room Press Releases FBI Releases 2012 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

FBI Releases 2012 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Washington, D.C. May 13, 2013
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

According to preliminary statistics released today by the FBI, 47 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2012. The total number of officers killed is 25 fewer than the 72 officers who died in 2011. By region, 22 officers were killed as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, eight officers in the West, six officers in the Northeast, five officers died due to incidents in the Midwest, and six officers were killed in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

By circumstance, 12 officers died from injuries inflicted while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, eight who died were conducting traffic pursuits or stops, five were engaged in tactical situations, and five officers were killed as a result of ambushes (four due to entrapment/premeditated situations and one during an unprovoked attack). Four officers’ deaths occurred as a result of answering disturbance calls (two of which were domestic disturbance calls) and three officers were transporting, handling, or maintaining custody of prisoners. Two of the fallen officers sustained fatal injuries during drug-related matters, two were attempting to make other arrests, and two were performing investigative activities. Two officers were responding to robberies in progress, one was responding to a burglary in progress, and one officer was killed as a result of handling a person with a mental illness.

Offenders used firearms in 43 of the 47 felonious deaths. These included 30 incidents with handguns, seven incidents with rifles, and three incidents with shotguns. The type of firearm was not reported in three of the incidents. Two victim officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons; one was killed with a knife; and one officer died from injuries inflicted with personal weapons, such as hands, fists, or feet.

Twenty of the slain officers were wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Six of the officers fired their own weapons and two officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Three victim officers had their weapons stolen; however, none of the officers were killed with their own weapons.

The 47 victim officers died from injuries sustained in 44 separate incidents. Forty-two of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

An additional 45 officers were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2012. This total represents eight fewer officers who died in accidents when compared with the 53 officers who were accidentally killed during the same time period in 2011. By region, 27 officers died due to accidents in the South, eight in the Northeast, seven in the West, and three in the Midwest.

Of the officers who died as a result of accidents, 22 died due to automobile accidents, 10 were struck by vehicles, and six officers were in motorcycle accidents. Three of the officers were killed due to aircraft accidents, two in accidental shootings, one from a fall, and one officer died as a result of an ATV accident.

Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2012, which will be published on the FBI’s Internet site in the fall.