FBI releases report on LE line of duty deaths in 2022

Felonious deaths decreased almost 18% from 2021 and vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of death

By Bill Carey 
Police1 Staff  

WASHINGTON — The FBI has released its report on the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2022, noting a decrease of nearly 18% in felonious deaths when compared to 2021. A total of 118 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents. Of these, 60 officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 58 officers died in accidents. Sixty felonious deaths occurred in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-eight officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2022, an increase of two when compared with the 56 officers accidentally killed in 2021. 

Felonious Deaths 

Firearms were used to kill 49 of the 60 law enforcement officers. Eight were killed by the assailant's hands and three were killed by vehicles. The average age of officers in this data was 39 years old, and the average time on the job at the time of the fatal incident was seven years. 

Twelve officers were killed in ambushes (premeditated) and 12 were killed during investigations/enforcement activities, making these the leading circumstances in deadly incidents for 2022. 

Six officers each were killed in unprovoked attacks, disorders/disturbances and tactical situations.  

Four each were killed in encounters with emotionally disturbed persons and pursuits. Three each were killed responding to crimes in progress and assisting other officers.  

Two were killed while serving a court order and one while deploying equipment (flares, traffic cones, etc.). 

Fifty-one alleged assailants were identified in connection with the felonious line of duty deaths. Ten of those had prior criminal arrests and two were under judicial supervision. 

Accidental Deaths 

Fifty-eight officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2022. The majority (35) were killed in motor vehicle crashes. The average age of those officers was 39 years old. The average time on the job at the time of the fatal incident was 11 years. 

There were a variety of incidents where officers were killed accidentally: 

  • 35 died as a result of motor vehicle crashes. 

  • 13 were pedestrian officers struck by vehicles. 

  • 6 officers were in an aircraft crash. 

  • 2 officers were killed in a fall. 

  • 2 died as a result of a firearm-related incident. 

Of the 31 officers killed in motor vehicle crashes, not including ATVs and motorcycles, six were wearing seatbelts. Data about seatbelt usage was not reported for 25 of the officers. 

The FBI 2022 data is available exclusively on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Data Explorer.

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