Police Fatality Rate Drops To Second Lowest Level In 50 Years

The number of police officers who died in the line of duty dropped to its lowest level in four years in 2017, thanks to advances in safety gear and training, Russia Today reported.

As of Thursday, 128 federal, state and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2017, a decrease of 10 percent from last year, according to a preliminary report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) released Thursday.

The total number of officers killed in the line of duty this year is the lowest since 2013, when 117 officers were killed. The number of officer fatalities had been on the rise for the past three consecutive years, reaching a peak of 143 fatalities in 2016.

“After three consecutive years of rising deaths in the law enforcement profession, this year’s decline offered some encouraging news,” Craig Floyd, NLEOMF CEO, said in a statement.

The number of officers killed in the line of duty has been on the decline since the ‘70s, when there was an average of 234 fatalities reported annually.



The most recent peak was 242 officers killed while on duty in 2001. The spike was most likely the result of officers responding to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of deaths this year, claiming the lives of 47 officers, a 13% drop from the 54 traffic-related fatalities reported last year.

Firearm-related deaths were the second leading cause of deaths, with 44 officers shot and killed on the job this year, a decrease of 33% from the 66 fatalities last year.



Handguns were the leading type of firearm used in fatal shootings of law enforcement, with 29 officers killed by sidearms.

The average number of firearm-related fatalities by decade decreased from 127 in the ‘70s to 53 in the 2010s. Floyd said the drop is most likely due to advances in safety gear, such as bullet-proof vests and de-escalation training.

“In my 33 years doing this, I've never seen the amount of awareness given to officer safety and wellness,” Floyd said. “That's definitely been paying off and will continue to help make law enforcement a significantly safer profession.”

The average age of an officer killed in the line of duty this year was 42. On average, officers left behind two children. The state with the highest number of officer deaths was Texas, with 14 fatalities. A total of 14 states and the District of Columbia did not suffer any officer fatalities in 2017.

Randy Sutton, a former police lieutenant and spokesman for Blue Lives Matter, attributes the decrease in police fatalities to the so-called “Ferguson effect,” referring to nationwide protests triggered by the killing of an unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in 2014.

“There's a saying in law enforcement: You can't get in trouble for the car stop you don't make,” Sutton said. “They don't want to be the next Ferguson, the next officer burned on the stake.”

However, the number of people killed by officers increased from 963 in 2016 to 971 this year, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.

But even though the number of on duty deaths continues to decline, the unprecedented militarization of local police departments continues.

Over the summer, President Donald Trump signed an executive order clearing the way for local police in America to receive military gear such as grenade launchers, high-caliber weapons, and armored vehicles. Trump and the DOJ have reversed former President Barack Obama’s restrictions that allows local police departments to receive surplus military equipment.

Which begs the question: Why do they need this?


LetThemEatRand giorgioorwell Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:22 Permalink

"The Blue Lives Matter crew screaming about the militarization of cops."

Unlike most sites, ZH is not a hive mind.  Plus, you can be a "Blue Lives Matter" believer and also realize that the police are overly militarized to the point the many cops (especially former military) see civilians as the enemy.  The Black Lives Matter movement focuses all of its attention on one racial group being the victim of this.  Many of us see the problem in much broader terms, while also recognizing that we need to support our police and get police departments back on track for their intended function -- to protect and to serve.

In reply to by giorgioorwell

BigPunny curbjob Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:39 Permalink


That's like saying you're "pro civil liberties and state's rights" while supporting an administration that vows to crack down on states that have legalized pot. 


Or saying you're for small government while continuing to hand out those corporate-welfare checks. 

In reply to by curbjob

LetThemEatRand BigPunny Sun, 12/31/2017 - 23:17 Permalink

Both Teams are guilty of this.  Obama supporters looked the other way for years while he droned wedding parties, did away with habeas corpus, failed to prosecute a single major banker for the crimes that led to the '07 crisis, ramped up military operations all over the world, spied on an incoming administration using the full force of the federal government, doubled down on the NSA powers, etc.

Now the Red Team is sleeping while Trump grows government, increases the deficit, embraces the banking sector including appointing a bunch of Goldman guys to his cabinet, saber rattles all over the world, increases the power of the NSA, hands the keys to the MIC, etc.

There are relatively few people in this country who seem to believe in anything other than their respective Teams.  But going back to the police, I've known many good police officers and I don't think it is a black and white issue.  The police are not evil as a whole, and they serve a useful purpose.  But they have also become corrupted and militarized and need to be reined in.  

In reply to by BigPunny

giorgioorwell LetThemEatRand Sun, 12/31/2017 - 21:29 Permalink

LOL, ZH is absolutely a hive mind.

It didn't used to be, at least as far back as 3 to 4 years ago, it was still a collection of insightful and politically unbaised articles and critiques, mostly on the corruption of Wall Street and the failings of the Federal Reserve system.

Now it is almost entirely people screaming about jews, blacks, obama and Hillary.    

The  Blue Lives matter crew fails to acknowledge that the militarized police are and have always trained on what to do with the population by trying it out in the poorer parts of society first.

You've been around long enough to have seen this move to a deeply disturbed hive mind but probably just agree with most of it to not bother you.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

LetThemEatRand giorgioorwell Sun, 12/31/2017 - 23:09 Permalink

First, I think we need to distinguish ZH from the posters.  The Tylers throw red meat to the Red Team quite often, but they also are on of the only sites that simultaneously point out the hypocrisy of the Red Team on numerous issues on a regular basis.  Second, I agree with you that this place has become infested with many people who use it almost exclusively as a platform for racist comments.  However, that does not mean there is a hive mind among posters or that these posters represent the majority of readers.  It just means that the site owners and other posters don't censor them.   I for one would rather allow people to say what they think, even if I don't agree with it.  The fact is there are a lot of people out there who think these things, and contrary to the viewpoint of the "left" or whatever SJWs call themselves these days, censoring those views does not make them go away. 

In reply to by giorgioorwell

jin187 LetThemEatRand Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:04 Permalink

That isn't their function.  They swear oaths to uphold the law, not to protect, or serve.  Hence the reason they can't/won't protect you, and can't/won't serve the public good.  Police work is nothing more than a revolving door of them jailing and releasing the same people over and over for minor offenses no one cares about, with the occasional corruption, high-profile case, or wanton slaughter thrown in to be pointed to as why we need them.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

Libertarian777 LetThemEatRand Tue, 01/02/2018 - 00:37 Permalink

Interestingly an article I had read stated that police did not come about to enforce peace / law and order FOR the populace, but rather, police were the enforcers of the law AGAINST the people (and FOR those in power).

It's quite a different paradigm of thought, and when one hears about 'qualified immunity' and SCOTUS states the cops have no duty to 'protect' (and likely none to 'serve' either).




In reply to by LetThemEatRand

gatorengineer LetThemEatRand Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:30 Permalink

I think most have missed the point of miliarizing the police.  Its obvious to everyone, that the current state of the state cant continue.  The police play a huge roll in mitigating the food riots in what is comming...


I am convinced somewhere there is a cabal, saying how the fuck did we get through another year......  Each year that goes by the chances of them saying that again are getting slimmer.  This bitch is going to come down hard, and in a manner that will make the great depression look like a picnic.

In reply to by LetThemEatRand

BigPunny gatorengineer Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:44 Permalink

They get through the years by using taxpayer money to shovel extra cash into corporate hands to do perpetual stock buybacks, which artificially inflate the value of those stocks, which then gets put right into the bank accounts of the CEO, CFO, CTO, and COOs. 

Not just that, but they war with any country wanting to back out of the petrodollar as the global, oil-purchasing currency - why do you think we're propagandizing the shiz out of Russia, India, China, et al? It's all to stage attacks against them or to hurt their ability to utilize BRICS for what it will eventually become. 

Saddam would've told you all about it, but we "smoked" him out of his hidey hole. 

Eventually, the house of cards will collapse, the corporate teet-suckers will have drained everything they can and will have built their bunkers while the rest of us are forced to figure out life without all the crap we've had all these years. 

It will be for the better, though. Hopefully people will go back to doing what people should be doing: caring for, and living off the land. 

In reply to by gatorengineer

serotonindumptruck Sun, 12/31/2017 - 19:39 Permalink

Those who score too high on Civil Service exams are routinely disregarded as law enforcement candidates.

Intelligent people (those who possess triple digit IQs) are simply not considered for employment as law enforcement agents, whether those positions are local, county, state, or federal.

The elite need stupid people to serve as police officers, or those people who would otherwise follow unlawful orders without question.

Battlefield USA pepperrick Mon, 01/01/2018 - 12:40 Permalink

Yep. And something else to remember... these cops killed "in the line of duty" stats, are inflated by dying in a car accident, and heart attacks. There is a big difference between dying on the job, whether it is a car accident or having a heart attack, and being deliberately assaulted and killed by another on the cop job.

As someone else mentioned, cops don't actually to see a weapon to "fear for their lives". All they have to do is say, "He was reaching for his waistband". Now, you try that for a defense and see how quickly you go to prison. Of course, do you know easily it is to claim one was reaching for his waistband? Lift you hands to any level, then drop them down again. Pretty damn close to the waistband... huh?


And, remember this: https://youtu.be/M62Va6Ft2cw

Don’t tell me this cop wasn’t playing up “My authority”. The, “I think I’ll make him crawl like a dog authority.” The, “I’ll set him up for failure authority.” The, “One furtive movement authority.” The, “His pants are falling and he reached authority.”

Cops are f**king pussies.


In reply to by pepperrick

Endgame Napoleon Sun, 12/31/2017 - 19:52 Permalink

Well, that is good news. I hope all the low-wage employees—working in dangerous sections of town, but unable to afford to afford an apartment on their paltry pay—are likewise safer. 

Maghreb Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:14 Permalink

Probably all the surplus War on Terror stuff is falling into the hands of the cops. It might end in tears for the poor bastards when they realize too much budget was spent on equipment and actual numbers and pensions go out of the window. The 1970´s police strikes were not that bad but the effects could be possibly hair raising today.

U.K are already flirting with privatization via G4S.......

Malleus Maleficarum Sun, 12/31/2017 - 20:15 Permalink

Why am I not surprised WaPo errs in favor of the state? Their numbers are about 20% too low, according to KilledByPolice.net which lists 1186 dead Americans this year. That's 215 more dead Americans than WaPo, but who's really counting? One thing is for sure: this will end badly.