RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Ten Virginia police
officers have died in the line of duty this year, second only to
California, officials said.
The men and women died either by gunfire or in
traffic accidents; another suffered a heart attack during a training
exercise, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit
organization dedicated to honoring America's fallen law enforcement
"It's been a tragic year, but what we've
experienced this year could happen to any state given the nature of
the job," said John W. Marshall, Virginia's secretary of public
safety. "I can't put any reason on it except that law enforcement
officers have dangerous jobs, and danger is something officers are
exposed to every day."
A total of 137 police officers were killed
nationally this year, compared to 156 last year, according to the
organization. In 2005, Virginia ranked in the middle with seven
deaths while California topped the list with 18.
"It's a tremendous tragedy when you lose an
officer," said Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State
Police. "It's been a very difficult and tragic year for our members.
We began and ended the year with an officer being killed in the line
Virginia State Trooper Kevin Manion died in
February while helping another trooper with an accident in Clarke
County. A rifle inside an overturned pickup truck discharged as the
truck was being moved, striking Manion in the chest.
Last week, a West Virginia man acknowledged
his role in Manion's death. David Ellis Ferrebee, 59, of Charles
Town, W.Va., will be sentenced on Feb. 28 for involuntary
manslaughter in Manion's death.
Nov. 24, Virginia State Police Trooper Robert
A. Hill Sr., 42, was killed after an elderly driver hit him while he
was talking to the driver of another car he'd pulled over for a
traffic violation in Southampton County.
Officers from Chesterfield, Norfolk,
Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, and Fairfax, Montgomery and Powhatan
counties also were killed this year. Those killed were: Vicky O.
Armel, 40; Gary J. Buro, 34; Seneca Darden, 25; Charles A. Fisher,
52; Michael E. Garbarino, 53; Robert E. Green, 33; Eric E. Sutphin,
40; William Tiedeman, 54.