Firearms: Death and Injury

The number of officers killed feloniously by a type of firearm in the line of duty.
The number of officers killed feloniously by a type of firearm in the line of duty.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Police Force Ratio Holds Steady
Published Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Population security is impacted by the ratio of police proportional to the size of the population being protected or controlled, a concept called population-driven force ratios. For populations such as ones in the US, the proportion of police officers required for day-to-day law enforcement duties among generally peaceful populations comes to a force ratio ranging from one to four police officers per 1000 residents. With greater emphasis on life saving equipment and new training techniques that result in fewer shootouts, plus specialized squads to defuse threatening situations, less of both populations are killed per year than 20 years ago.

Currently on average the ratio of police to population in the US comes to about 2.3 officers per thousand residents; larger cities have higher ratios. That force ratio has remained steady for nearly three decades at around 2.21-2.34 police officers per 1000 civilian population. The number of officers killed in the line of duty has reduced by over three times that of the early 1970s. Presently, the number of fallen has reduced further from 70 in 2001 to 41 in 2008. The 72 deaths that resulted from the events of September 11, 2001 are not included in the totals.  So far this year, there have been 20 gun related deaths for the police nationwide.

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Governor Hopes to Avoid Regretable Deaths in the Future
Published Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Governor David A. Paterson of New York has stated that he would convene a task force to study shootings of police officers by friendly fire. This comes after the killing of a police officer by friendly fire in Harlem last week. One of the issues the task force will explore will be whether such shootings had disproportionately affected Black and Latino officers. The NY Police Department had also compiled a list of 10 officers killed in such shootings since 1930’s, which included 5 who were White, four who were Black and one who was Hispanic. In light of the shooting, refresher training commenced and a memorandum was circulated regarding steps the department is taking to combat friendly fire. Included in the memo are studies that explore whether police handguns and/or equipment could be fitted with officer proximity identification devices.

Officers falling in the line of duty have been one of the many statistics followed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations Uniform Crime Reports. The number of those killed annually by handguns and other types of guns has leveled off to mid 50s since 1998. The most dangerous of situations in which the officers are killed include arrest, ambush, making traffic stops and disturbance calls. Between 1998 and 2007, 22 officers were killed in the line of duty as a result of firendly fire by either crossfire, mistaken for the subject or by a firearm mishap.

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Learn More

U.S. Department Of Justice: Uniform Crime Report, Officers Killed -
The FBI publishes Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted each year to provide information about the officers who were killed, feloniously or accidentally, and those officers who were assaulted while performing their duties. The FBI collects these data through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

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Protect Safe Neighborhoods -
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide commitment to reduce gun crime in America by networking existing local programs that target gun crime and providing these programs with additional tools necessary to be successful.