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129 officers killed in line of duty in 2021, FBI report says

The number of felonious deaths increased from the previous year

candelight vigil law enforcement memorial 2021

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

By Police1 Staff

WASHINGTON — Last month, the FBI released its 2021 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty. According to the report, 129 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2021, which is 27 more than the previous year. Of those 129 deaths, 73 were related to felonious acts and 56 were accidents.

The 73 felonious deaths in 2021 were also an increase from 2017 (46 felonious deaths) and 2012 (49 felonious deaths). The FBI report found other notable statistics related to felonious deaths, including:

  • The average age at death was 39 years old.

  • The average length of service was 12 years.

  • Most officers (24) were killed in unprovoked attacks. Other common circumstances that led to duty deaths were investigation/enforcement activities (9), premeditated ambushes (8), pursuits (8), responding to disturbances (7) and tactical situations (6).

  • Firearms were the most common weapon (61) used to kill officers.

  • 20 assailants had prior criminal arrests.

The report also details notable statistics about accidental officer deaths, including:

  • 32 officers died because of motor vehicle crashes and 20 were pedestrians struck by vehicles.

  • 4 officers drowned.

See here for more information about how the FBI tracks crime and line of duty deaths.