Virginia Coalition of Police
and Deputy Sheriffs




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153 Police Died in Line of Duty in 2005

Two law enforcement groups said Friday that 153 officers have died in the line of duty so far in 2005, with the majority killed in traffic accidents and shootings.

The number, just one fewer than the 154 reported killed in 2004, marks a continued downward trend over the last 30 years, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors. The groups compiled the deaths from reports through Dec. 22.

Traffic-related accidents claimed the lives of 62 officers in 2005. The ranks of officers killed in traffic accidents has risen 40 percent in the last 30 years, according to the groups.

Another 60 died in 2005 in shootings, including firearms training accidents. Physical-related incidents, including heart attacks and heat stroke, accounted for 20 more deaths.

Other deaths included two fatalities in a helicopter crash, one in a bomb-related incident, one in a stabbing, two in drownings and three in falls.

"The increased use of body armor, better training and, more recently, the advent of less-lethal weaponry have all played a role in bringing these numbers down," said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Chairman Craig W. Floyd.

Excluding the 234 officers killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, 160 officers have been killed each year on average over the past decade, the groups said. The annual average was 220 through the 1970s.

California continued to have the most officers killed in the line of duty, with 17. Texas, with 14, and Georgia, with 10, followed. Nine federal officers died.

Just four of the overall deaths involved women officers.

The groups plan to add the 153 names over the next few months to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial lists the names of more than 17,000 officers killed in the line of duty since 1792.

There are an estimated 800,000 state, federal and local officers in the United States, according to the most recent available numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.