Police deaths spike in 2010: report

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Washington – After hitting a 50-year low in 2009, the number of law enforcement deaths increased significantly in 2010, according to a Dec. 28 report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Preliminary data (.pdf file) shows 162 officers died on the job last year – an increase of nearly 40 percent from the year before, when 117 died.

Traffic-related incidents remain the leading cause of death for the 13th year in a row. In addition, firearms accounted for 59 officer deaths in 2010, up from 49 in 2009. The state with the most officer fatalities was Texas with 18, followed by California with 11.

NLEOM's chairman Craig W. Floyd said in a press release that officers are being asked to do more with less, which puts their lives at risk.

"In addition to their conventional crime fighting responsibilities, our law officers are on the front lines in the war against terror here at home," Floyd said. "Yet, there are fewer officers on the street and other precious resources, such as training and equipment dollars, are also being cut as a result of the economic downturn."

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