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More Than 150 Law Officers Killed in Line of Duty During 2006
By Randy Hall
CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor
December 27, 2006

(CNSNews.com) - More than 150 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide during 2006, with traffic-related deaths jumping dramatically over the prior year and shooting fatalities dropping.

According to preliminary figures released Wednesday, 151 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed while performing their duties during the past 12 months.

California had the most fatalities with 17, followed by Virginia with 10, New York and Texas which both lost nine, and Florida and Illinois with eight each.

These figures were part of a report issued annually and jointly by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), two nonprofit organizations that track officer fatalities.

For the ninth straight year, traffic-related incidents claimed the lives of more officers (73) than shootings (54) or any other cause of death. Of the 73 officers who died in traffic-related incidents, 47 were killed in automobile crashes, 15 were struck by vehicles, nine died in motorcycle crashes, and two died in bicycle crashes.

This represented nearly a 16 percent increase over the 63 officers who were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2005. The number of officers killed in shootings declined by nearly nine percent from the 59 who were shot to death in 2005.

These numbers are consistent with a historical trend that shows the number of officers killed in automobile crashes has jumped by 40 percent over the past three decades, while the number of officers who were shot to death during that period has declined by roughly the same amount.

Other causes of deaths included job-related illnesses (18), aircraft crashes (3), beating (1), stabbing (1) and terrorist attack (1). Five of the officers killed during 2006 were women.

"With the war on terror and recent reports of a surge in violent crime, we depend on our law enforcement professionals more than ever," declared NLEOMF Chairman Craig Floyd. "These fatality figures are a shocking reminder of the sacrifices being demanded of our law officers. We owe all of them, and their families, a huge debt of gratitude."

"When law enforcement officers die in the line of duty, their families need strong support," said Jean Hill, National President of COPS. "Concerns of Police Survivors will be there for the families who lost an officer in 2006, encouraging them to find that support through the other law enforcement survivors and COPS programs. COPS saved my life by reaching out to me and my family in 2001. COPS is ready to do the same for the survivors of 2006."