Firearm-involved police officer deaths ‘a serious concern’: Report


(NewsNation) — Overall law enforcement deaths declined significantly in 2022, but firearm line-of-duty deaths remain high, according to an annual report from a leading authority on officer fatalities.

The number of law enforcement professionals who died in the line of duty in 2022 decreased by 61% from the previous year, according to the end-of-year report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).

According to the report, 226 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2022. This is in comparison to the 586 officers who died in 2021.

According to the report, the decline in overall deaths is largely attributed to the change in COVID-19-related deaths.

Seventy officers succumbed to the disease as a result of their duties in 2022, compared to 405 officers in 2021, the report states.

“While overall line-of-duty deaths are trending down,” said NLEOMF CEO Marcia Ferranto, “the continuing trend of greater-than-average firearms-related deaths continues to be a serious concern.”

The trend of higher-than-average firearms fatalities, which started in 2021, continued in 2022.

Sixty-four officers died in firearms-related fatalities in 2022, the report states.

Of the 64 firearms-related fatalities in 2022:

  • 11 were ambushed
  • 9 were handling domestic disturbance calls
  • 8 were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances
  • 6 were attempting to make an arrest
  • 6 were killed during traffic enforcement
  • 5 were investigating disturbance calls
  • 4 were killed during tactical encounters
  • 4 were mistaken identity/training accidents
  • 3 were responding to robbery/burglary in-progress calls
  • 3 were serving civil papers
  • 2 were serving felony warrants
  • 2 were killed in other circumstances
  • 1 was handling/transporting prisoners

Firearms-related deaths in 2021 and 2022 remain significantly higher than the average of firearms-related fatalities in the previous decade and represent a 21% increase in deaths when compared to the average of 53 from 2010-2020.

“I look at these numbers every single year, and for me it is personal,” said NLEOMF executive director Bill Alexander. “It’s hard to separate the fact that I know men and women just like this every single day who… go out with the intention of doing good.”

According to the report, Texas experienced the largest number of law enforcement officer fatalities of all U.S. states in 2022, with 33 line-of-duty deaths.

New York had the second-highest number with 12 officer deaths, and California and Georgia had the third-highest number with 11 officer deaths each.

Alexander said gun violence is a complicated topic.

“We’re not staunchly for or against any kind of gun control, I’m just saying to you I don’t know that that is the answer for making it safer for the men and women who are out there,” he said. “There’s already more than enough firearms out there.”

The numbers released in the NLEOMF report may not represent a final list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2023.

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