FBI Announces Changes to Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017 and Releases 2017 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
In an effort to provide a more timely release of data to the public, the FBI is releasing three sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017 ahead of the traditional fall timetable. These sections include data and statistics concerning officers feloniously and accidentally killed and statistics about federal officers killed and/or assaulted. The remaining portions of the publication, which present data reported to the FBI concerning law enforcement officers assaulted in the line of duty in 2017, will be available later this year.
In addition, new technology allows the database containing Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted information to process more data than ever before. Additional details can be processed and shared about incidents in which officers are killed and assaulted in the line of duty. As a result, all of the statistics previously included in the publication are still available, but some statistics are not directly comparable with prior years’ statistics as topics are now broken into more categories. New tables have been added and some tables have been renumbered. A description of all changes can be found at Updates to Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017.
According to statistics reported to the FBI, 93 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2017. Of these, 46 officers died as a result of felonious acts and 47 officers died in accidents. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks are included in the sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017, released today.
The 46 felonious deaths occurred in 25 states and in Puerto Rico. This is 20 fewer felonious deaths than 2016 (66 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 19 felonious deaths compared with the 2013 figure (27 officers) and an increase of five deaths compared with 2008 data (41 officers).
The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 38 years old. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 11 years at the times of the fatal incidents. Of the 46 officers:
- 43 were male
- 3 were female
- 35 were white
- 9 were black/African-American
- 2 were American Indian/Alaska Native
Of the 46 officers feloniously killed:
- 21 died as a result of investigative or enforcement activities
- 6 were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances
- 6 were involved in tactical situations
- 3 were conducting traffic violation stops
- 2 were performing investigative activities
- 1 was investigating a drug-related matter
- 1 was investigating a motor vehicle crash
- 1 was conducting a felony traffic stop
- 1 was interacting with a wanted person
- 6 were involved in pursuits
- 4 were involved in foot pursuits
- 2 were involved in vehicular pursuits
- 5 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation)
- 4 were involved in arrest situations
- 3 were verbally advising offenders during the arrest situations
- 1 was attempting to control/handcuff/restrain the offender(s) during the arrest situation
- 3 were involved in unprovoked attacks
- 2 were assisting other law enforcement officers
- 1 was deploying or providing equipment such as traffic cones or flares
- 1 was assisting another officer with a vehicular pursuit
- 2 were responding to crimes in progress
- 1 was a robbery in progress
- 1 was a report of a shooting or shots being fired
- 1 was on administrative assignment and was performing a prisoner transport
- 1 responded to a disorder/disturbance and encountered a domestic disturbance upon arrival
- 1 encountered or was assisting a person experiencing an emotional disturbance
Offenders used firearms to kill 42 of the 46 victim officers. Three officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons, and one officer was killed with a knife. Of the 42 officers killed using firearms:
- 32 were slain with handguns
- 9 with rifles
- 1 with a shotgun
Felonious deaths were reported in four U.S. regions and Puerto Rico.
- 24 officers were feloniously killed in the South
- 11 in the Midwest
- 6 in the West
- 3 in the Northeast
- 2 in Puerto Rico
Law enforcement agencies identified 44 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths.
- 40 of the assailants had prior criminal arrests
- 18 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the times of the felonious incidents
Forty-seven law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2017, a decrease of five from the 52 officers accidentally killed in 2016. The majority (29 officers) were killed in automobile (car/truck/SUV/van) accidents.
The average age of officers who were accidentally killed was 40 years old. The average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 12. Of the 47 officers accidentally killed:
- 45 were male
- 2 were female
- 41 were white
- 3 were black/African-American
- 2 were American Indian/Alaska Native
- 1 was Asian
The 47 accidentally killed officers died in a variety of scenarios:
- 29 died as a result of automobile accidents
- 6 were struck by vehicles
- 5 died in motorcycle or ATV accidents
- 3 officers drowned
- 2 were killed in an aircraft accident
- 1 officer died in a watercraft accident
- 1 officer died in another type of duty-related accident
Use of Seatbelts
Of the 29 officers killed in automobile accidents, 12 were wearing seatbelts, and 15 were not. Data about seatbelt usage was not available for two of the officers. Of the 15 officers who were fatally injured in automobile accidents and were not wearing seatbelts, two were seated in parked motor vehicles at the times of the incidents.
Accidental deaths were reported in four U.S. regions.
- 27 of the accidental deaths occurred in the South
- 9 in the Midwest
- 6 in the West
- 5 in the Northeast
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017 is available exclusively on the FBI’s UCR website at https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2017.