Home News Press Room Press Releases FBI Releases Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Statistics for 2004

FBI Releases Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Statistics for 2004

Washington, D.C. November 21, 2005
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

Washington, D.C. -- The FBI reported today that 57 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2004, showed that these officers lost their lives in 50 separate incidents in 22 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Data from 2, 5, and 10 years ago showed that the 57 officers murdered in the line of duty in 2004 were 5 more than the 52 officers feloniously killed in 2003, 6 more than the 51 officers murdered in 2000, but 17 fewer than the 74 officers slain in 1995. Nearly 10,500 local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies submitted data regarding their officers who were killed or assaulted in 2004 to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Officer Profile

A composite picture of the victim officers feloniously killed in 2004 showed that the average age was 39 and the average length of service in law enforcement was 12 years. Fifty-four of the victim officers were male. Forty-six officers were white, 10 were black, and 1 was Asian/Pacific Islander.


Of the 57 officers feloniously slain last year, 17 were killed in arrest situations. Twelve officers were slain in ambush situations, 10 officers while investigating disturbance calls, 6 while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, 6 during traffic stops or pursuits, 3 while involved in resolving hostage situations or other high-risk tactical situations, 2 officers were slain while handling mentally deranged individuals, and 1 while handling a prisoner.


Offenders used firearms to kill 54 of the 57 victim officers. Of these 54 officers, 36 were slain with handguns, 13 with rifles, and 5 were killed with shotguns. Two officers were killed when they were intentionally hit by vehicles. One officer was killed by an individual with a knife.


In the South, the Nation's most populous region, 27 officers were murdered in the line of duty, more than in any other region. Ten officers were slain in the Midwest, 9 in the West, and 8 in the Northeast. Three officers were slain in the U.S. Territories.


The data that law enforcement agencies provided the FBI's UCR Program showed that 58 alleged assailants were identified in connection with the 50 separate incidents that claimed the lives of the 57 law enforcement officers. All but one of the incidents in which law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2004 were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

Accidental Deaths

Eighty-two law enforcement officers were killed in accidents while performing their duties in 2004. Over half of the officers killed in accidents, 48, died as a result of automobile wrecks. Ten officers died of injuries sustained in motorcycle mishaps, and 10 were killed in traffic-related incidents, e.g., struck by vehicles while directing traffic, assisting motorists, or stopping traffic at roadblocks. Four officers were mistakenly shot, 3 died in aircraft accidents, 3 drowned, 1 officer fell to his death, and 3 were killed in other situations.


The Nation's law enforcement agencies reported to the FBI's UCR Program that 59,373 officers were assaulted during the performance of their duties, and 16,563 of those officers suffered injuries as a result of these attacks. Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) were used in

80.1 percent of the attacks. Firearms were used in 3.6 percent, knives or cutting instruments in 1.9 percent. Other dangerous weapons were used in 14.5 percent of the attacks on officers.