According to preliminary statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 57 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty during 2007. Geographically, 31 of the victim officers were killed in the South, nine in the West, nine in the Midwest, and seven in the Northeast. One officer was slain in Puerto Rico. The total number of officers killed is nine higher than in 2006.
By circumstance, 16 deaths occurred as a result of ambush situations, 16 died during arrest situations, 11 were killed while handling traffic pursuits/stops, six died responding to disturbance calls, three while investigating suspicious persons/circumstances, three during tactical situations, one while conducting investigative activities, and one while handling and transporting prisoners.
A breakdown of weapons used in these slayings revealed that firearms were used in the majority of incidents. Of the 55 officers killed with firearms, 38 were killed with handguns, nine with shotguns, and eight with rifles. Two officers were killed with vehicles.
At the time they were killed, 35 law enforcement officers were wearing body armor. Eleven officers fired their weapons, and 14 of the slain law enforcement officers attempted to fire their weapons. Four officers had their weapons stolen, and two officers were slain with their own weapons.
The 57 law enforcement officers were killed in 51 separate incidents in 2007. Fifty of the 51 incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
In addition to the officers who were feloniously killed, 83 law enforcement officers were accidentally killed in 81 separate incidents while performing their duties in 2007. This number is 17 higher than the previous year’s number.
The FBI will release final statistics in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, which will be published on the Internet in the fall of this year.