The Latest | Southern California breaking news and trends
Crime & Justice

Law enforcement deaths drop dramatically in 2012

Police fatalities declined sharply in 2012, after two record high years.
Police fatalities declined sharply in 2012, after two record high years.

Listen to

Download this 0MB

Last year saw the second lowest number of officers killed in the line of duty in 50 years.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that nationwide, 127 law enforcement officers lost their lives on the job in 2012. That's a 23 percent decrease from 2011 - a year that, along with 2010, recorded historically high fatalities. 

Fund chairman Craig Floyd said the jump in deaths in 2010 and 2011 generated more attention to officer safety. That, he said, led to some simple policy changes within law enforcment agencies. They included more training for police officers, and more requirements that officers wear bullet proof vests while on duty.

Often, when officers are shot or perhaps injured seriously in an automobile crash, they survive  because they had that vest on, Floyd said.

He added that assaults and accidents involving on-duty officers have remained more or less stable over the years. Figures for 2012 are not yet available.

California typically reports the most law enforcement deaths in the country. In 2012 it experienced two, down from 10 in 2011. 

The two most common causes of death among law enforcement officers in 2012, as in the last decade, were car crashes, followed by gunshots.