FBI Releases 2015 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Preliminary statistics released today by the FBI show that 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2015. This is a decrease of almost 20 percent when compared with the 51 officers killed in 2014. By region, 19 officers died as a result of criminal acts that occurred in the South, nine officers in the West, five officers in the Midwest, four in the Northeast, and four in Puerto Rico.

By circumstance, eight officers were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; seven were engaged in tactical situations; six officers were conducting traffic pursuits/stops; four were killed as a result of ambushes (entrapment/premeditation); three officers were killed as a result of unprovoked attacks; three died from injuries inflicted while answering disturbance calls (all three being domestic disturbance calls); three officers were killed while answering robbery in progress calls or pursuing robbery suspects; two were handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners; two officers were handling persons with mental illness; one sustained fatal injuries while performing an investigative activity; one was answering a burglary in progress call or pursuing a burglary suspect; and one officer was killed while attempting other arrest.

Offenders used firearms in 38 of the 41 felonious deaths. These included 29 incidents with handguns, seven incidents with rifles, one incident with a shotgun, and one incident in which the firearm type was not reported. Three victim officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons.

Thirty of the 41 killed officers were confirmed to be wearing body armor at the times of the incidents. Six of the 41 slain officers fired their own weapons, and six officers attempted to fire their service weapons. Three victim officers had their weapons stolen; three officers were killed with their own weapons.

Forty-one victim officers died from injuries sustained in 38 separate incidents. Thirty-six of those incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.

An additional 45 officers were killed in 2015 in line-of-duty accidents, which include officer deaths that are found not to be willful and intentional. This total is the same number of officers who were accidentally killed in 2014. By region, 29 officers died due to accidents in the South, six in the Midwest, five in the Northeast, and five in the West.

Twenty-nine of the officers died as a result of automobile accidents, seven were struck by vehicles, and four were fatally injured due to motorcycle accidents. Two of the 45 officers were killed from accidental shootings, one from an aircraft accident, one due to a fall, and one from an all-terrain vehicle accident.

Of the 29 officers who died due to automobile accidents, 18 officers were wearing seatbelts. Eight officers were not wearing seatbelts (four of whom were ejected from the vehicles), and seatbelt use was not reported for three of the officers who were killed due to automobile accidents.

Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2015, which will be published on the FBI’s Internet site in the fall.

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  1. Katrina

    I wonder how many officers were shot or injured. Just because they didn’t die doesn’t mean they didn’t suffer injury, sometimes devastating. I know of Traumatic Brain Injury, Loss of an Eye, Paralysis, and I’m sure there are many more. Is this information tracked somewhere?

  2. ahaz

    Once again, statistics prove that it’s never been safer to be a police officer, directly contradicting the narrative by union reps and others declaring there is some sort of war on cops, that citizens are targeting cops because the are cops, and justifying the amount of violence directed toward the public by officers. Now consider that over 1200 citizens were killed by police is 2015. Huge disparity isn’t it? Where is the real problem; the level of violence directed toward a cop or the level of violence directed toward citizens by cops?

    • Katrina

      If the police were forced to take the lives of 1200 people, that tells me that there are 1200 good officers out there still alive. In a perfect world, there would be no killing. Thankfully we have police to defend us from the criminals in this imperfect world. Since the police don’t start the violence, that shows that there is, in fact, a war on cops.

      • ahaz

        Obviously Katrina…you live in a world of fantasy and you know nothing of the issue of police violence. A good number of those 1200 citizens were unarmed and mentally ill, approximately 300 of them. Now do you feel that there are 1200 good officers out there? What is tells me is there are officers that exercised deadly force when they didn’t need to. That they failed to accurately determine the actual level of threat, that they most likely shot and killed a citizen because of a perceived threat. I, like many others, feel that a perceived threat is a bar that’s set too low.

        • Katrina

          Police violence, or the violence police face? You weren’t there, therefore have no idea what force was required. Mental illness does not render anyone’s attack less lethal. The last thing an officer wants to do is fire his weapon let alone take a life. Police don’t initiate violence, they respond to violence. It is the perpetrator who determines the degree of violence. There are over 57,000 assaults on police every year. Many of those asked to be killed. The fact that only 1200 were suggests pretty good restraint on the part of the police. If you fancy yourself such an expert, why aren’t you out there doing the job?

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