Line-of-duty deaths among officers rose this year

In the past decade more than 95,000 Americans were killed by people using firearms. Among the victims were 511 police officers whose deaths were examined by The Washington Post in a year-long investigation.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 29, 2010; 12:54 AM

A total of 160 officers on federal and local levels died in the line of duty as of midday Monday, an increase over the 117 killed last year, when the number of deaths reached a 50-year low, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Traffic accidents were by far the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths, as they have been for 13 years. Seventy-three officers were killed in traffic-related incidents this year, compared with 51 in 2009, the organization said.

Fifty-nine officers were fatally shot this year, up from 49 killed last year.

Eighteen officers were killed in Texas, more than in any other state. The agencies with the most deaths were the California Highway Patrol and Chicago Police Department, each with five, the memorial fund reported.

The 2010 tally does not include the death of a Georgia State Patrol trooper shot twice in the face Monday night after an attempted traffic stop and brief chase in Atlanta.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company