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SEVENTY-FIVE OFFICERS KILLED IN FIRST HALF OF 2006; TRAFFIC-RELATED FATALITIES ON THE RISE
 

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The number of police officers killed nationwide during the first half of 2006 increased by more than seven percent over the same period last year. Seventy-five federal, state, and local law enforcement officers were killed during the first six months of 2006, according to preliminary numbers recently released jointly by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). This is an increase from the 70 officers who lost their lives during the same period in 2005.

California and New York were the deadliest states for law enforcement officers during the first half of the year, both with eight deaths. Illinois and Texas both ranked second with six fatalities apiece, followed by Virginia with five deaths and Florida with four law enforcement fatalities. Of the 75 officers killed in 2006, 30 were shot, 22 died in automobile accidents, 11 officers succumbed to job-related illnesses, five were struck by automobiles while outside of their own vehicles, four officers died in motorcycle accidents, two were killed in helicopter accidents, and one officer was killed in a bomb blast. Over the past 10 years (1996-2005), a total of 1,635 law enforcement officers across the nation were killed in the line of duty.

According to NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd, one of the most troubling trends is the growing number of officers killed in automobile crashes. "The number of officers killed in automobile crashes has increased by 40 percent over the last three decades and by 22 percent over the past year," Mr. Floyd stated. "For the last eight years, the number of officers killed in traffic-related incidents has surpassed the number of officers killed in shootings. It appears that this trend is continuing in 2006." He added that increased driver training for officers, improved safety systems in law enforcement vehicles and citizens who are more attentive to officers stopped on the side of the road will help to reduce these fatality figures.

"The increase of law enforcement deaths in 2006 means that COPS will be reaching out to 75 more families who are going through the worst pain and heartache they have ever known," cited Jean Hill, National President of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). "Concerns of Police Survivors understands the pain that families feel when losing their officer. The safety of all our officers is in the hands of every American and we all need to do whatever it takes to keep law enforcement families from becoming members of COPS."