The number of police officers killed nationwide during the first half of 2002 dropped to its lowest level in more than 30 years. Sixty-eight federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during the first six months this year. This represents roughly a 10 percent decrease from the 76 officers who lost their lives during the same period a year ago. The last time police fatality figures for the first half of the year dipped this low was in 1966 when 67 officers were killed. Over the last 10 years, an average of 163 law officers have died in the performance of duty annually, including 230 last year.

Of the 68 officers who were killed through June of this year, 30 were shot to death, 21 died in automobile accidents, four succumbed to job-related illnesses, three officers were killed in aircraft accidents, two were struck by automobiles while outside of their own vehicles, two died in motorcycle accidents, two were stabbed to death, two officers drowned, one officer was killed in an explosion during a training exercise, and one officer was beaten to death.
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