Report: LE LODDs down in 2022, largely due to COVID death decrease
The number of firearm and traffic-related fatalities has increased, according to NLEOMF's mid-year report
By Anne Berleant
WASHINGTON — According to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), law enforcement line of duty deaths are down 31% this year compared to the same period in 2021. However, a significant factor in the decrease is attributed to a lower number of COVID-related officer deaths, which are down 45%.
In the first half of 2022, 54 officers died from COVID-19 compared to 98 in the same period last year. Moreover, the mid-year report notes 129 LODDs between January 1 and June 30, while 188 occurred during the same period last year.
"It's certainly optimistic in terms of the reduction of COVID-19-related deaths," William Alexander, executive director of NLEOMF, told CBS News.
What has increased, according to the report, is the number of firearm and traffic-related fatalities (up 18% and 25%, respectively).
Firearms-related fatalities have claimed the lives of 33 officers in the first half of 2022, an 18% increase compared to the 28 officers killed in firearms-related incidents in the first half of 2021.
Of the 33 firearms fatalities:
- 9 were handling domestic disturbance calls
- 6 were investigating disturbance calls
- 3 were attempting an arrest
- 3 were fatally shot responding to burglary or robbery in-progress calls
- 2 were handling suspicious persons/activities calls
- 2 were killed during traffic enforcement
- 2 were serving warrants
- 2 were ambushed
- 2 were handling/transporting prisoners
- 1 was mistaken identity
- 1 was killed during a tactical encounter
Traffic-related fatalities decreased 9% with 31 deaths in 2022 compared to 34 deaths in the same period in 2021. While overall traffic-related fatalities are down YTD, the 20 fatal crashes so far in 2022 (automobile/motorcycle) represent an increase of 25% compared to the same time in 2021.
Of the 31 traffic-related deaths:
- 14 were automobile crashes involving a collision with another vehicle or fixed object
- 5 were single-vehicle crashes
- 1 officer has been killed in a motorcycle crash
- 11 were struck-by fatalities
"Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the biggest phenomena that I think doesn't get enough attention," FBI Director Christopher Wray told CBS News' 60 Minutes.