FBI San Diego
Special Agent Davene Butler
(858) 320-1800
December 2, 2014

FBI Releases 2013 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

On January 15, 2013, an officer with the Galt, California Police Department was killed while investigating a suspicious person/circumstance. On February 7, 2013, a Riverside Police Department (RPD) Officer was shot and killed and another wounded during an ambush. On February 12, 2013, the same suspect involved in the February 7, 2013 incident shot and killed a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Deputy (SBCSD) during a tactical situation. On February 26, 2013, two Santa Cruz Police Department detectives were killed while attempting an arrest. These are some of the killings included in the FBI’s recently released Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) 2013 report.

According to the LEOKA report, these officers were among the 76 men and women killed in the line of duty during 2013—27 died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 died in accidents. Another 49,851 law enforcement officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults.

According to statistics collected by the FBI, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2013. Of these, 27 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 49 officers died in accidents. In addition, 49,851 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks and selected assaults resulting in injury are included in the 2013 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

Among the report’s findings for 2013:

Of the 27 officers feloniously killed, 16 were on assigned vehicle patrol duty when the incidents occurred, and all but one of the 27 officers was killed with a firearm.

Circumstances surrounding the deaths of these 27 officers included arrest situations, ambushes, investigations of suspicious persons, disturbance calls, tactical situations, traffic pursuits or stops, and investigative activities.

Law enforcement agencies identified 28 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths (20 had prior criminal records).

Of the 49 officers accidentally killed, 23 died as a result of automobile accidents.

Of the nearly 49,851 officers assaulted during 2013, the largest percentage of victim officers (31.2 percent) were responding to disturbance calls (family quarrels, bar fights, etc.) when the incidents occurred.

Overview

  • In 2013, 49 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 22 states.
  • Of the officers accidentally killed, 24 were employed by city police departments, 15 were employed by county agencies, 8 were employed by state agencies, and 2 were employed by federal agencies.
  • By region, 31 officers who were accidentally killed were employed by agencies in the South, 9 by agencies in the West, 5 by agencies in the Northeast, and 4 by agencies in the Midwest.

Victim profile

  • The average age of the officers who died accidentally in 2013 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, 41 were white, 6 were black, and race was not reported for 2 officers.
  • All 49 of the officers were male.

Circumstances

Of the officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2013:

  • 23 died as a result of automobile accidents.
  • 9 were struck by vehicles.
  • 4 officers died in motorcycle accidents.
  • 4 were killed in falls.
  • 2 were accidentally shot as a result of crossfire, mistaken for subject, or other firearm mishaps.
  • 2 officers drowned.
  • 1 died in an aircraft accident.
  • 4 officers died in other types of accidents.

Of the 9 officers struck by vehicles:

  • 8 were directing traffic, assisting motorists, etc.
  • 1 was executing a traffic stop, roadblock, etc.

Assignments

  • 24 of the on-duty officers accidentally killed in 2013 were alone at the time of the accidents.
  • 21 on-duty officers had assistance at the time of their fatal accidents.
  • 4 officers were off duty, but acting in an official capacity, at the times of their fatal accidents.

Months, days, and times of incidents:

  • In 2013, the greatest number of accidents resulting in the deaths of law enforcement officers (9) occurred in May.
  • More officers were fatally injured in accidents on Fridays in 2013, with 12 officers accidentally killed.
  • 16 officers were killed as a result of accidents occurring between 12:01 a.m. and noon.
  • 30 officers were fatally injured in accidents that occurred between 12:01 p.m. and midnight.

Felonious Deaths

The 27 felonious deaths occurred in 16 states. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2013 decreased by 22 when compared with the 49 officers who were feloniously killed in 2012. The five- and 10-year comparisons show a decrease of 21 felonious deaths compared with the 2009 figure (48 officers) and a decrease of 30 deaths compared with 2004 data (57 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Twenty-five of the officers were male, and two were female. Twenty-five of the officers were white, and two were black.

Circumstances: Of the 27 officers feloniously killed, six were killed in arrest situations, five were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, five were ambushed, four were involved in tactical situations, four were answering disturbance calls, and two were conducting traffic pursuits/stops. One was conducting an investigative activity, such as surveillance, a search, or an interview.

Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 26 of the 27 victim officers. Of these 26 officers, 18 were slain with handguns, five with rifles, and three with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.

Regions: Fifteen of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, six in the West, four in the Midwest, and two in the Northeast.

Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 28 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths. Twenty of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and six of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.

Accidental Deaths

Forty-nine law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2013. The majority (23 officers) were killed in automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths increased by one from the 2012 total (48 officers).

Officer Profiles: The average age of the officers who were accidentally killed was 41 years; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 13. All 49 of the officers were male. Forty-one of the officers were white, six were black, and race was not reported for two officers.

Circumstances: Of the 49 officers accidentally killed, 23 died as a result of automobile accidents, nine were struck by vehicles, four officers died in motorcycle accidents, four officers were killed in falls, two were accidentally shot, two drowned, one died in an aircraft accident, and four officers died in other types of duty-related accidents. Seatbelt usage was reported for 22 of the 23 officers killed in automobile accidents. Of these, 14 officers were not wearing seatbelts, three of whom were seated in parked patrol vehicles. Eight officers were wearing their seatbelts at the times of the accidents.

Regions: Thirty-one of the accidental deaths occurred in the South, nine in the West, five in the Northeast, and 4 in the Midwest.

Assaults

In 2013, of the 49,851 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 29.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (31.2 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.8 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.9 percent of assaults. Expanded assault details have been included in the 2013 publication. Data for assaults during which officers were injured with firearms or knives/other cutting instruments are located in new tables, figures, and selected narratives.

The LEOKA publication, released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, contains data on duly-sworn city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers who, at the time of the incidents, met the following criteria:

  • They were working in an official capacity, whether on or off duty;
  • They had full arrest powers;
  • They ordinarily wore/carried a badge and a firearm; and
  • They were paid from government funds set aside specifically for sworn law enforcement representatives.

The information in the report comes from various sources—the law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR Program, FBI field offices, and several non-profit organizations, such as the Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The goal of the FBI’s LEOKA program is to provide data and training that help keep law enforcement officers safe as they serve and protect our nation’s communities. To view the entire report please visit www.fbi.gov.