Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Law Enforcement line-of-duty deaths dropped 66 percent in the first half of 2023 when compared to the same time period in 2022, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) 2023 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.
While most of the decline is due to substantial reductions in COVID-19-related deaths, line-of-duty deaths are down across the board. According to the 2023 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report, 52 federal, state, county, municipal, military, and campus officers have died in the line of duty from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2023 compared to 153 officers who died during the first half of last year.
“There is no good news in reporting the death of even a single police officer,” said NLEOMF Interim CEO Bill Alexander, “yet based on this preliminary data, we are cautiously optimistic that conditions may be improving for our law enforcement professionals who willingly put themselves at risk to serve and protect.”
Firearms-related fatalities are down 24 percent with 25 officers shot and killed in the first six months of 2023 compared to 33 officers in January through June 2022. Of the 25 firearms fatalities: six were handling domestic disturbance calls; five were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; four were killed during traffic enforcement; and three were investigating disturbance calls. Two officers were killed attempting to make an arrest, two while responding to robberies/burglaries in-progress and one officer died during each of these incidents: a tactical encounter, serving a felony warrant, and in an ambush.
Traffic-related fatalities plummeted 63 percent with 11 fatalities in the first half of 2023 compared to 30 during the same period last year. Two of the 11 officers were struck and killed deploying Tire Deflation Devices (TDD). Both officers were from the same law enforcement agency, killed in separate incidents. Struck-by fatalities decreased 82 percent, from 11 in 2022 to two in 2023. Of the remaining 2023 traffic-related deaths: five were in automobile crashes; three were single-vehicle crashes; and one officer died in a motorcycle crash.
In the first half of 2023, 16 officers’ deaths were classified in the ‘Other’ category for health-related and other line-of-duty fatalities. Only two of those officers have been reported as having succumbed to complications from COVID-19, compared to 72 such officers in the same time period in 2022. The 14 other category 2023 fatalities include eight fatal medical events and two officers each who died in aircraft crashes and fell to their deaths. One officer died assisting in a fire incident and another died by drowning.
Louisiana has the largest number of law enforcement officer fatalities of all U.S. states so far in 2023, with six line-of-duty deaths. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had four officer deaths each. California, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey and Oklahoma had three officer deaths each and two line-of-duty deaths were reported in each of the following states: Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The statistics released in the mid-year report are based on preliminary data compiled by the NLEOMF and may not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2024.
Click on the link below for more details in the 2023 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.