November 24, 2014

In the Line of Duty

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2013 Report Released

Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2013 chart

A Florida sheriff’s officer, responding to a report of a domestic disturbance at a residence, was shot and killed by someone inside the home. An Iowa police officer was shot and killed while attempting to serve an arrest warrant. A Michigan state trooper was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop. And a West Virginia sheriff was ambushed and fatally shot in the head while he was eating his lunch in a marked car.

According to the just-released Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, these four 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. Proof positive of the dangers that all officers willingly face, day in and day out, to protect the rest of us.

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.

New to LEOKA is the addition of detailed data concerning assault victims. Although this year’s detailed information on assaults was only received for 78 officers, submissions are expected to increase over time. More details.

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. Later this week on our website, we’ll focus on what LEOKA is doing, beyond its annual report, to further that goal—specifically, the extensive research being done on collected data (including studies involving interviews with individuals convicted of police killings) and the incorporation of that research into the officer safety awareness training conducted by the LEOKA program for partner agencies.

While the annual LEOKA report, released earlier this weeks, offers a stark reminder of the dangers police face every day, the main reason for gathering the comprehensive data about line-of-duty fatalities, assaults, and accidents is to prevent them from occurring in the future.