Law enforcement fatality rate increases in 2011; firefighter rate declines

Washington – On-duty fatalities for local, state and federal law enforcement officers rose to 173 in 2011, compared with 153 deaths in 2010, according to a preliminary report (.pdf file) from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

According to the report, firearm-related incidents were the leading cause of death in 2011, with 68 fatalities, and traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause, with 64 reported. In a press release accompanying the report, NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig Floyd attributed the rise in fatalities to cuts in law enforcement agency safety budgets and increasing crime.

In other news, the U.S. Fire Administration recently released preliminary data showing that on-duty firefighter fatalities decreased to 81 in 2011 from 87 in 2010. According to a USFA press release, 54 percent of fatalities occurred while responding to an emergency situation, and heart attacks were identified as the leading cause of on-duty firefighter fatalities, with 48 reported. USFA stated in the release that final firefighter fatality statistics are expected to be released in July.

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