The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a new report with preliminary data through June 30, 2017, revealing that 65 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in 2017—a thirty percent increase over the same period last year (50).
Of these 65 officers, 26 were killed in traffic-related incidents, 23 were killed by gunfire and 16 died due to other causes such as job-related illnesses.
Traffic-related fatalities, including officers being struck by vehicles, were the leading cause of law enforcement deaths for the first half of this year, with 26 fatalities in 2017, compared to 21 over the same period in 2016—an increase of 24 percent. Notably, 10 of the incidents were single-vehicle crashes, where an officer crashed without making impact with another vehicle. This represents an alarming 233 percent increase from the first half of last year (3). Additional circumstances are included in the 2017 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.
Firearms-related fatalities (23) rose slightly from the 21 during the same period in 2016. Domestic-related incidents continue to be the leading cause of officers being shot and killed in the line of duty, with five in the first half of this year so far. Three officers were killed in ambush-style attacks as of June 30. Of the 23 firearm-related fatalities, six were shot and killed in May, the most of any other month.
Sixteen officers died of other causes as of June 30 that include job-related illnesses, drownings and illnesses related to rescue and recovery efforts after 9/11.
Georgia and New York lead the country in officer fatalities with five officers lost in the line of duty in each state for the first half of 2017. California, Florida and Texas each have had four officers killed, while three were killed in Louisiana as of June 30.
“When our law enforcement officers put their badges on at the start of their shifts, they do so with the intention of protecting the citizens of their communities and this country,” said NLEOMF president and CEO Craig W. Floyd. “They risk their lives each day and it is outrageous that 65 officers have died in the line of duty in the first half of this year. Officers have been targeted for the job that they do, shot and killed or hit with vehicles. I ask all of our citizens to do their part to protect our law enforcement heroes, as they continue to protect us.”