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2013 in Review: Law enforcement fatalities dip to lowest level in six decades

33 officers killed in firearms-related incidents is fewest since 1887

According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 111 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2013, an eight percent decrease from 2012, when 121 officers were killed. This was the fewest number of fatalities for the law enforcement profession since 1959 when 110 officers died.

Traffic-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities in 2013, killing 46 officers. Thirty-one officers were killed in automobile crashes, 11 officers were struck and killed outside their vehicle and four officers were killed in motorcycle crashes. Traffic-related fatalities decreased four percent from 2012 when 48 officers were killed.

Firearms-related fatalities were the second leading cause of death among our nation’s law enforcement officers in 2013. Firearms-related fatalities accounted for 33 deaths, decreasing 33 percent from 2012 when 49 officers were killed. Ambush attacks were once again the leading circumstance of fatal shootings in 2013, with seven officers killed.

Officer fatalities unrelated to firearms or traffic saw a 33 percent increase in 2013. Thirty-two officers died of other causes in 2013 compared to 24 in 2012. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, increased substantially in 2013 with 18 officer deaths compared to eight officers in 2012.


The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization established in 1984 to generate increased public support for the law enforcement profession by permanently recording and appropriately commemorating the service and sacrifice of all federal, state and local law enforcement officers; and to provide information that will help promote law enforcement safety.

The NLEOMF built and now operates the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., which contains the names of more than 16,000 officers killed in the line of duty; helps organize the annual National Police Week tribute to fallen law enforcement officers each May; runs an Officer of the Month Program; serves as a clearinghouse of information about police officers killed in the line of duty; and will open the doors to the National Law Enforcement Museum in 2008.

We’re excited to offer Craig’s insight to our readers and members. Just another reason why Police1 is always on the cutting edge for the Law Enforcement community.