The number of law enforcement officers killed in the United States soared by 44 percent during the first six months of 2007, and for the first time in three decades, more than 100 officer deaths were recorded by the halfway point of the year, according to preliminary statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
The groups' preliminary data indicate 101 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers were killed between January 1 and June 30, 2007---an increase from the 70 officers who lost their lives during the same period of 2006. The last time the mid-year total was that high was 1978, when there were 105 officer deaths.
Of the 101 officers killed during the first half of 2007, 45 died in traffic-related incidents. That's an increase of 36 percent from the 33 traffic-related fatalities during the first six months of 2006.
In addition, 39 officers were shot to death during the first six months of this year, compared with 27 during the same period of 2006, a jump of more than 44 percent. Also this year, seven officers succumbed to job-related illnesses, three drowned, two were killed in terrorist attacks, two died in aircraft accidents, and one officer each died from a bomb blast, a boating accident, and being struck by a falling object.
"Though still preliminary, these latest numbers are cause for alarm for two reasons," says Craig W. Floyd, chairman and CEO of the NLEOMF. "First, the recent trend of more officers being killed on our roadways, in vehicle crashes and while outside their vehicles, appears to continue unabated. Second, we are now seeing a spike in fatal shootings of officers as well---cases which have generally been declining in recent years."
The full report can be found online at http://www.nleomf.org/media/pdf/MidYearDeathReport_2007.pdf.