FBI: Police Officer Felonious Deaths Up 60%

A total of 118 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report released last week.

Of those deaths, 52 were accidental and 66 were felonious.

Both are a significant increase from 2015 when 45 officers died accidentally and 41 were feloniously killed in the line of duty.

Additionally, 57,180 officers were assaulted in the line of duty, with nearly 30 percent of those officers being injured in the incidents and an average of 157 officers assaulted per day and a 10% increase from 2015.

The 60% increase in officers being murdered in the line of duty and the increase in daily assaults towards law enforcement should have law enforcement leaders concerned says Law Officer Columnist and SAFETAC Trainer Travis Yates.

“I do believe that we have some leaders that are not adequately preparing our police officers for the dangers that they face.  Unlike what I have seen from some in law enforcement, the idea of cowards killing police officers is not a ‘community policing’ issue or from a ‘lack of’ outreach from law enforcement.  This is pure evil preying on those that stand between that evil and the communities that they serve and the only way to mitigate the risk is training,” Yates told us.

Yates points to hearing from police officers every week that feel their training needs are being ignored by their administration and the hesitation that he sees in some to support much needed training.

Yates says that The First Three Seconds: Surviving The Ambush, is one of the best classes he has seen in the area of Officer Survival and he sees officers paying their own way each and every class because there is not support for training that can save lives.

Law Officer is currently sponsoring several training sessions across the country, including a free opportunity to see ‘Courageous Leadership‘ in Mesa (AZ) on October 24th.  Contact SAFETAC Training and ask them for the Law Officer Discount on your training needs.

The 66 felonious deaths occurred in 29 states and in Puerto Rico with the south proving to be the most deadly for law enforcement with thirty felonious deaths.  In addition, 17 occurred in the West, 13 in the Midwest, four in the Northeast, and two in Puerto Rico.

Police ambushes reached a two decade high in 2016 with 17 officers ambushed and killed by suspects.

According to the FBI, at the time the 66 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed:

  • 13 were answering disturbance calls (seven were domestic disturbance calls);
  • nine were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances;
  • six were engaged in tactical situations;
  • five were performing investigative activities (such as surveillances, searches, or interviews);
  • four were conducting traffic pursuits/stops;
  • three were investigating drug-related matters;
  • three were victims of unprovoked attacks;
  • one was answering a burglary in progress call or pursuing a burglary suspect(s);
  • one was answering a robbery in progress call or pursuing a robbery suspect(s); and
  • four were attempting other arrests.

62 of the 66 slain officers were killed with a firearm.  Of those firearms, 37 were handguns, 24 were rifles, and one was a shotgun.  Four officers were killed when vehicles were used as weapons.

In 2016, 57,180 officers were assaulted while performing their duties while 29 percent of those officers were injured.

32 percent of the officers were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls.

Law Enforcement Line of Duty Deaths classified as “accidental” continued to plague the profession, which was a catalyst in Law Officer’s 2011 launch of the Below 100 program.

Fifty-two law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2016. 26 were killed in automobile collisions.  In 21 of those deaths, seat belt usage was reported and while 10 officers were wearing a seatbelt but 11 police officers were not.

Travis Yates calls the continued issue of law enforcement failing to wear a seat belt, “the ultimate of tragedies.”

“The death of a police officer is horrific but when we fail to utilize basic safety equipment such as seat belts and ballistic vests, we can often say that those deaths did not need to happen,” Yates said.

Yates, who was integral in the founding of the Below 100 Initiative says that the culture of law enforcement often plays into risks that simply do not have to be there.

Yates says that law enforcement has enough risks to deal with and “it is time that we eliminate those risks that simply do not have to be there.”

Other line of duty deaths classified as accidental by the FBI included 12 officers that were struck and killed by vehicles, seven died in motorcycle collisions, three were shot by accident, two drowned and one died in an aircraft accident.

We encourage you to contact our exclusive training partner, SAFETAC Training, for important training in your area.


Facebook Comments



1 Comment

  1. Samuel Fivey

    Thanks for this summary out so quickly. Hadn’t caught it given some recent local events.

Submit a Comment

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Law Officer.

You have Successfully Subscribed!