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2022 Officer fatalities plummet 61% compared to 2021, firearms-related deaths still high
Jan 26, 2024

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: January 12, 2023

Excerpted from NLEOMF’s 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report

Law Enforcement line-of-duty fatalities in 2022 plummeted about 61 percent compared to 2021, but the number of firearms-related deaths continues to be high, according to the 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).

There were 226 line-of-duty fatalities last year as of Dec. 31, 2022, compared to 586 in 2021, the deadliest year on record in Law Enforcement history. The drastic drop is primarily related to the 83 percent decline in COVID-19-related deaths, according to the report.

Last year, 70 officers died as a result of contracting COVID-19 while on-duty compared to 405, who died from contracting the disease in the line-of-duty in 2021. Despite this significant decline in 2022, COVID-19 continued to be the leading cause of Law Enforcement Officer fatalities.

Firearms-related fatalities were the second leading cause of death in 2022, claiming the lives of 64 officers last year and also in 2021. Both years represent a 21 percent rise in firearms-related fatalities compared to the last decade, which averaged about 53 fatalities yearly from 2010-2020. Of the 64 firearms-related deaths, the top circumstances are as follows: 11 were ambushed; nine were handling domestic disturbances; eight were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; six were attempting arrests; six were slain during traffic enforcement; five were investigating disturbances; four were killed during tactical encounters; and four were mistaken identity/training accidents.

“While overall line-of-duty deaths are trending down,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto, “the continuing trend of greater-than-average firearms-related deaths continues to be a serious concern. Using and reporting on this data allows us to highlight the continuing cost of maintaining our democracy, regrettably measured in the lives of the many law enforcement professionals who sacrifice everything fulfilling their promise to serve and protect.”

Traffic-related fatalities decreased overall 3 percent with 56 deaths in 2022 compared to 58 in 2021. However, fatal automobile/ motorcycle crashes increased 29 percent over 2021’s total of 31, with 40 deaths in 2022. Officers struck outside of their patrol vehicle dropped 41 percent from 27 in 2021 to 16 in 2022.

The largest group of line-of-duty deaths continues to be from ‘other’ causes with 106 fatalities in 2022. Most of these deaths were COVID-19-related. However, other causes declined by 77 percent when compared to 464 fatalities in 2021. This category includes long-term illnesses related to the September 11th terrorist attacks, and acute medical conditions caused by extreme and/or stressful experiences while on-duty.

Texas had the largest number of U.S. officer fatalities with 33 line-of-duty deaths. New York was second with 12 officer line-of-duty deaths; California and Georgia had 11 officer deaths each; 10 Tennessee officers died in the line-of-duty; and North Carolina, Alabama, and Florida had nine officer deaths per state. In Michigan, one officer died in the line-of-duty. Other 2022 line-of-duty officer fatalities include: 11 federal officers, one military, and one tribal officer.

The statistics released in the annual report are based on preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and may not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2023.

Click on the link below to see the full 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.

 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report

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