An assistant police chief with 27 years of law enforcement experience was shot and killed on an Arkansas highway after stopping a suspected stolen vehicle.
A 30-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot multiple times while on patrol near San Diego.
A patrol officer in Pennsylvania awaiting backup was ambushed in his police cruiser after responding to a 9-1-1 call.
These three officers, who paid the ultimate price for their desire to serve and protect the public, are just three of the 48 law enforcement officers from around the nation who lost their lives in the line of duty during 2009.
You can read more about the sacrifices made by these brave men and women in the just-released Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2009, an annual reminder of the dangers of policing.
Of the 48 officers killed in the line of duty last year:
… Fifteen were ambushed;
… Eight were involved in arrest situations;
… Eight were performing traffic pursuits or stops;
… Six were answering disturbance calls;
… Five were involved in tactical situations (like high-risk entries);
… Four were investigating suspicious persons or activities; and
… Two were handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.
Here’s at look at some of the other data collected on officers killed in the line of duty:
- More officers (eight) died from assaults occurring in April.
- More officers (13) died from assaults occurring on a Saturday.
- More officers (13) died between 8:01 p.m. and midnight than in any other time period.
- The average age of victim officers was 38.
- The average number of years of law enforcement experience was 12.
- Forty-five of the victims were killed with firearms, and three were killed by vehicles used as weapons.
- Of the 41 alleged assailants identified in connection with the 48 deaths, 33 had prior criminal arrests.
The report also provides information regarding accidental line-of-duty deaths:
- During 2009, the nation lost 47 additional officers to accidents while they were performing their duties.
- Thirty-four of these officers died as a result of automobile accidents.
- Other officers were killed by vehicles while executing traffic stops or roadblocks, directing traffic, or assisting motorists; in motorcycle accidents; or by crossfire or other firearm mishaps.
Also contained in the report are statistics on assaults on officers:
- A total of 57,268 officers were assaulted during 2009.
- Of the officers assaulted, the largest percentage (32.6) was responding to disturbance calls (such as family quarrels or bar fights).
- The largest percentage of assaults (16.0) took place from 12:01 to 2 a.m., while the lowest percentage of assaults (2.4) took place from 6:01 to 8 a.m.
- A total of 61.9 percent of officers assaulted were patrol personnel working alone, while 18.9 percent of the officers assaulted were working in pairs.
Why do we collect and publish this information yearly? In addition to calling attention to these heroic individuals, we hope that the details in this report will be used by law enforcement managers and civic leaders to improve safety strategies and training for those officers who put their lives on the line for us all each and every day.