Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program 

Logo for the FBI's Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) statistics, part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

Through the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) Program, the FBI is committed to providing data and training that helps keep law enforcement officers safe as they protect the nation’s communities. The goal of the program is to provide relevant, high quality, potentially lifesaving information to law enforcement agencies focusing on why an incident occurred as opposed to what occurred during the incident, with the hope of preventing future incidents. The data collected is analyzed by the LEOKA team and the results are incorporated into the officer safety awareness training the FBI provides for partner agencies.

LEOKA’s Latest Preliminary Statistics

As of 12/14/2018:

  • Fifty-four law enforcement officers have been reported feloniously killed in 2018. During the previous year for the same time period, 45 officers were feloniously killed. At the time the 54 law enforcement officers were fatally wounded in 2018:
    • Eleven were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation)
    • One was a victim of an unprovoked attack
  • Forty-seven law enforcement officers have been reported accidentally killed in 2018. During the previous year for the same time period, 47 officers were accidentally killed.

LEOKA’S Three-Tier Approach 

The program has a three-tier approach in order to fulfill its mission and promote officer safety awareness to the law enforcement community nationwide:

  • Data collection: Data on line-of-duty deaths and assaults are collected from participating agencies across the country through the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, and the recent expansion of the data collection methods are providing even more facts that can be studied by experts and officer safety trainers in order to tailor training to real world circumstances. The data are also published annually in the Bureau’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.
  • Research: Over the years, researchers led by the LEOKA Program have been conducting in-depth research using UCR data collected regarding incidents in which officers are killed or assaulted. The published research gives officers a sharper understanding of what types of scenarios and circumstances have resulted in fatalities and assaults. These articles and publications also contain information obtained through extensive interviews with officers and offenders involved in critical incidents to develop lessons learned, trends and curriculum development for the FBI’s Officer Safety Awareness Training (OSAT).
  • Training: The objective of the Bureau’s OSAT, which has been provided to thousands of our law enforcement partners in the U.S. and abroad, is to assist law enforcement managers, trainers, and personnel with identifying issues and circumstances that may contribute to officer deaths and assaults and help prevent them. Data has shown an increase in ambushes on our nation’s law enforcement officers. As a result, LEOKA trainers are studying the data with the purpose of shaping future training to help reverse this trend with information and education.

LEOKA Criteria 

The data collected under the auspices of the LEOKA Program involves law enforcement officers who meet a certain set of criteria established by the FBI.

General Criteria

The publishable data pertains to felonious deaths, accidental deaths, and assaults of duly sworn city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers who, at the time of the incident, met the following criteria:

  • Wore/carried a badge (ordinarily)
  • Carried a firearm (ordinarily)
  • Were duly sworn and had full arrest powers
  • Were members of a law enforcement agency
  • Were acting in an official capacity, whether on or off duty, at the time of the incident
  • If killed, the deaths were directly related to the injuries received during the incidents.

During 2015 and 2016, the FBI has implemented two changes to the employment and service criteria of law enforcement officers that determine whether the data concerning their death or assault will be included in the LEOKA Program’s statistical data for publishing. These changes, as well as the dates they went into effect, are outlined below.

Exceptions to the Above-Listed Criteria

Beginning January 1, 2015, the LEOKA Program effected an exception to its collection criteria to include the data of individuals who are killed or assaulted while serving as a law enforcement officer at the request of a law enforcement agency whose officers meet the current collection criteria. (Special circumstances are reviewed by LEOKA staff on a case-by-case basis to determine inclusion.)

Example 1: An unpaid reserve officer responded to a structure fire along with a law enforcement officer. As the reserve officer exited the patrol unit, he was immediately confronted in an ambush style attack and was fatally shot by the offender.

Example 2: A correctional officer was fatally shot while assisting local law enforcement agencies who were tracking a man wanted for murdering his parents. The officer was a canine handler at a local correctional facility and was asked to assist during the incident based on the need for the canine. If the correctional officer was working in his/her normal capacity as a correctional officer when killed, that correctional officer would not be counted in the LEOKA Program’s statistics.

Addition to the LEOKA Program’s Data Collection

Effective March 23, 2016, the LEOKA Program expanded its collection criteria to include the data of military and civilian police and law enforcement officers of the Department of Defense (DoD), while performing a law enforcement function/duty, who are not in a combat or deployed (sent outside of the United States for a specific military support role mission) status. This includes DoD police and law enforcement officers who perform policing and criminal investigative functions while stationed (not deployed) on overseas bases, just as if they were based in the United States.

Exclusions from the LEOKA Program’s Data Collection

Deaths resulting from the following are not included in the LEOKA Program’s statistics:

  • Natural causes such as heart attack, stroke, aneurism, etc.
  • On duty, but death is attributed to their own personal situation such as domestic violence, neighbor conflict, etc.
  • Suicide

Examples of job positions not typically included in the LEOKA Program’s statistics (unless they meet the above exception) follow:

  • Corrections/correctional officers
  • Bailiffs
  • Parole/probation officers
  • Federal judges
  • U.S. and assistant U.S. attorneys
  • Bureau of Prison officers
  • Private security officers

For Law Enforcement Only

In addition to the annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report and OSAT, the LEOKA Program has additional resources available for law enforcement via a Special Interest Group that can be accessed through the FBI’s Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP), including:

  • A training calendar
  • Three major case studies:
    • Killed in the Line of Duty - A study of selected felonious killings of law enforcement officers examining offender motives in an attempt to answer why these attacks occur.
    • In the Line of Fire - A study of felonious assaults on law enforcement officers which examines both the offender motives and officer perceptions of the assault to improve officer safety.
    • Violent Encounters - A culmination of the two previous studies focused on felonious assaults and killings of law enforcement critically examining officer perceptions, offender motives, and the circumstances that brought them together.
  • A series of articles on safety issues (i.e., foot pursuits, arrest situations, preventing assaults, accidental deaths)
  • Additional statistics
  • A video on speed control in vehicle pursuits
  • LEOKA forms

If you work for a law enforcement, criminal justice, or public safety agency, you can obtain a LEEP account. For additional information, e-mail leoprogramoffice@leo.gov or call 1-888-334-4536. More on LEEP.