In the Line of Duty: Officers pay the ultimate price

An assistant police chief with 27 years of law enforcement experience was shot and killed on an Arkansas highway after stopping a suspected stolen vehicle.

A 30-year-old U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot multiple times while on patrol near San Diego.

A patrol officer in Pennsylvania awaiting backup was ambushed in his police cruiser after responding to a 9-1-1 call.

These three officers, who paid the ultimate price for their desire to serve and protect the public, are just three of the 48 law enforcement officers from around the nation who lost their lives in the line of duty during 2009.

According to information released today by the FBI, 48 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year; 47 officers died in accidents while performing their duties; and 57,268 officers were assaulted in the line of duty.
The 2009 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted released today provides comprehensive tabular data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks.
Felonious Deaths
The felonious deaths occurred in 18 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2009 increased by seven compared with the 2008 figure (41 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons showed decreases in the number of felonious deaths, down seven from the 2005 number (55 officers) and a decrease of three from the 2000 total (51 officers).
Officer Profiles: Among the officers who were feloniously killed, the average age was 38 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 12 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Forty-seven of the victim officers were male and one was female. Forty-two of the officers were white, three were black, two were American Indian/Alaskan Native, and one was Asian/Pacific Islander.
Circumstances: Of the 48 officers feloniously killed, 15 were ambushed; eight of the slain officers were involved in arrest situations; eight were performing traffic stops; six were answering disturbance calls; five were involved in tactical situations (e.g., high-risk entry); four were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; and two were handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.
Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 45 of the 48 victim officers. Of these 45 officers, 28 were slain with handguns, 15 with rifles, and two with shotguns. Three officers were killed with vehicles that were used as weapons.
Regions: Twenty-one of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 13 in the West, seven in the Northeast, and five in the Midwest. Two of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.
Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 41 alleged assailants in connection with the 48 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Thirty-three of the assailants had prior criminal records, and 13 of the assailants were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.
Accidental Deaths
Of the 47 law enforcement officers killed in accidents while performing their duties in 2009, the majority of officers accidentally killed (34 officers) were the result of automobile accidents. The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths was down 21 from the 2008 total (68 officers) and 20 less than the 2005 total (67 officers); 36 fewer officers were accidentally killed in 2009 than in 2000, when 83 officers died in accidents.
In 2009, 11,451 law enforcement agencies reported that 57,268 officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.2 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (32.6) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (family quarrels, bar fights, etc.). Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 81.4 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.5 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.5 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.6 percent of assaults.
Of the 48 officers killed in the line of duty last year:

… Fifteen were ambushed;
… Eight were involved in arrest situations;
… Eight were performing traffic pursuits or stops;
… Six were answering disturbance calls;
… Five were involved in tactical situations (like high-risk entries);
… Four were investigating suspicious persons or activities; and
… Two were handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.

Here’s at look at some of the other data collected on officers killed in the line of duty:
More officers (eight) died from assaults occurring in April.
More officers (13) died from assaults occurring on a Saturday.
More officers (13) died between 8:01 p.m. and midnight than in any other time period.
The average age of victim officers was 38.
The average number of years of law enforcement experience was 12.
Forty-five of the victims were killed with firearms, and three were killed by vehicles used as weapons.
Of the 41 alleged assailants identified in connection with the 48 deaths, 33 had prior criminal arrests.

The report also provides information regarding accidental line-of-duty deaths:
During 2009, the nation lost 47 additional officers to accidents while they were performing their duties.
Thirty-four of these officers died as a result of automobile accidents.
Other officers were killed by vehicles while executing traffic stops or roadblocks, directing traffic, or assisting motorists; in motorcycle accidents; or by crossfire or other firearm mishaps.
A total of 57,268 officers were assaulted during 2009.
Of the officers assaulted, the largest percentage (32.6) was responding to disturbance calls (such as family quarrels or bar fights).
The largest percentage of assaults (16.0) took place from 12:01 to 2 a.m., while the lowest percentage of assaults (2.4) took place from 6:01 to 8 a.m.
A total of 61.9 percent of officers assaulted were patrol personnel working alone, while 18.9 percent of the officers assaulted were working in pairs.

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