Number Of Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty Drops To 50-Year Low While Number Of Citizens Killed By Cops Remains Unchanged

from the mean-streets-'meaner'-for-civilians dept

The go-to phrase deployed by police officers, district attorneys and other law enforcement-related entities to justify the use of excessive force or firing dozens of bullets into a single suspect is “the officer(s) feared for his/her safety.” There is no doubt being a police officer can be dangerous. But is it as dangerous as this oft-deployed justification makes it appear?

The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959.

According to the report, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty nationwide this past year, compared to 121 in 2012.

Forty-six officers were killed in traffic related accidents, and 33 were killed by firearms. The number of firearms deaths fell 33 percent in 2013 and was the lowest since 1887.

This statistical evidence suggests being a cop is safer than its been since the days of Sheriff Andy Griffith. Back in 2007, the FBI put the number of justifiable homicides committed by officers in the line of duty at 391. That count only includes homicides that occurred during the commission of a felony. This total doesn’t include justifiable homicides committed by police officers against people not committing felonies and also doesn’t include homicides found to be not justifiable. But still, this severe undercount far outpaces the number of cops killed by civilians.

We should expect the number to always skew in favor of the police. After all, they are fighting crime and will run into dangerous criminals who may respond violently. But to continually claim that officers “fear for their safety” is to ignore the statistical evidence that says being a cop is the safest it’s been in years — and in more than a century when it comes to firearms-related deaths.

So, the excuses — and the justifiable homicides — mount. Even as the job becomes safer for police officers and crime stats continue to drop from their mid-1990s highs, the rate of deaths at the hands of law enforcement remains unchanged. According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, 4,813 people have died while being arrested by police officers. 60% of those were homicides, a rate of ~400 per year.

Look at Seattle. As Reason points out, 20% of its 2013 homicides were committed by police officers — 6 out of 29 total. A city with nearly 650,000 residents (and an infinite amount of chances to kill each other) only managed to outpace the city’s ~1,800 officers by a 5-to-1 ratio. One homicide per 300 officers versus one homicide per 22,000 residents. Again, being a criminal shortens your lifespan, and officers will more often find themselves in dangerous situations, but the disparity here is enormous.

Efforts have been made over the past several years to make things safer for police officers. The ubiquitous use of bulletproof vests has contributed to this decrease in firearms-related deaths, as has a variety of policies aimed at reducing high-speed chases. But very little effort has been made to decrease the number of people killed by law enforcement. (Notably, Seattle’s police chief attributes the high homicide numbers to not “effectively managing” interactions with people with mental health issues.) Some deaths are nearly impossible to prevent, but there are others where the situation has been allowed to deteriorate far too quickly or a shoot-first mentality has prevailed. The escalating adoption of military equipment and tactics has also contributed to the steady “justifiable homicide” count.

I’m aware that statistical aggregation isn’t the same thing as moment-to-moment reality. Just because you’re less likely to be shot today than at any other time in the past 100+ years doesn’t mean today isn’t your day. But the narrative push by officers to present their job as persistently deadly doesn’t jibe with the death totals. The First Rule of Policing (“get home safe”) is a crutch for bad cops. Cops are getting home safe now more than ever. It’s those on the other side of the blue line that haven’t seen their chances improve.

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Comments on “Number Of Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty Drops To 50-Year Low While Number Of Citizens Killed By Cops Remains Unchanged”

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Ninja (profile) says:

The escalating adoption of military equipment and tactics has also contributed to the steady “justifiable homicide” count.

O nice, you just described what the Brazilian police is in general. And amusingly we call it “Military Ploice of [insert state]. It’s actually a heritage of the dictatorial years of Brazil when the police was not meant to protect but rather to suppress and oppress.

I’m not as optimistic as to say our police is walking towards being more human and oriented to serve the citizenry. Not yet. But being able to compare both countries in this aspect even if minimally is rather troubling considering the US should be standing for other ideals and values.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Odds of getting shot

The biggest problem is that when a cop is involved in a ‘justifiable’ shooting, the truth is that he/she will be totally absolved of all guilt or misdeed, even when there is ample evidence that the victim was unarmed and non-threatening.

Which makes for a lot of unsolved murders by cops.

Bad numbers, and that’s why if you’re ever involved in a situation with a police officer, you’d best become a human statue because anything will get you killed, even breathing.

Not good odds for civilians-and it’s the result of the militarization of the police, both physically and mentally.

We’re all the bad guys now.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Odds of getting shot

When a private citizen applies cop logic and acts accordingly, that citizen winds up charged with at least manslaughter because they are held strictly to the letter of the law.

But cops have at least one layer of bureaucracy between them and the courts and prosecutors almost never ignore the findings of the review board, so cops get judged not guilty by their fellow cops — and never see the inside of a courtroom for what would be manslaughter or even murder if anyone else did it.

And this despite the fact that a cop can use deadly force when threatened with deadly force because s/he is a citizen, not because s/he is a cop!

Al says:

Re: Re: Odds of getting shot

Often these review boards are in fact made up of citizen NOT police- this is designed to test what is considered “reasonable force” also do we forget hindsight is 20/20… Decisions made on the street are made in seconds and based on training. Do we not expect police to defend themselves?

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Odds of getting shot

Decisions made on the street are made in seconds and based on training. Do we not expect police to defend themselves?

The problem is not the police defending themselves. The problem is police launching preemptive strikes just in case.

If that’s what they are trained for, then all trainers need to get dismissed and replaced by sane trainers with sane priorities. Then all the mistrained police officers need to be trained properly, and those who fail to show any sane regard of human life need to get dismissed as well and get replaced by policemen with a conscience and work ethic and the knowledge that their job’s purpose is to make the life of the citizens safer, not more dangerous.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Nice comparison of apples, oranges, and random rocks.

Danger from humans > danger from inanimate objects.

Builders and bus drivers don’t deserve to be in the same sentence as first-responders. As for first-responders, only police go to every single call. Every. Single. One.

You won’t find any other profession — even military — that puts you in harm’s way more often and with less predictability.


That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: You were saying?

Pg. 53, ‘Police Protection’. Total fatal injuries, 133, 86 by ‘Violence and other injuries by persons or animals’, 39 due to ‘Transportation Incidents’.

Pg. 1, ‘Crop production’. Total fatal injuries, 245.

Pg. 2, ‘Animal production’. Total fatal injuries, 148, 124 from cattle ranching alone.

Pg. 5, ‘Construction’. Total fatal injuries, 738, 129 from ‘Construction of buildings’, 156 from ‘Heavy and Civil engineering construction’, 423 from ‘Specialty trade contractors’, 148 of which are from ‘Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors’.

Pg. 8, ‘Manufacturing’. Total fatal injuries, 327.

Pg. 18, ‘Wholesale trade’. Total fatal injuries, 190, 109 of which come from ‘Merchant wholesalers, durable goods’.

Pg. 20, ‘Retail trade’. Total fatal injuries, 268, 135 of which are from ‘Violence and other injuries by persons or animals’. 86 of those fatalities are from ‘Food and Beverage stores’, of which 66(76%) of the fatalities are due to the just mentioned ‘Violence and other injuries by persons or animals’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You were saying?

“Pg. 5, ‘Construction’. Total fatal injuries, 738, “

I know of a case of a guy who sat in flatbed tow truck cab, while coworker used electrical winch located just behind him to pull large trash container . Just before end of Friday shift. Got decapitated.

Looks like Darwin Award to me. Nothing in his job duty made it unsafe. His own stupidity did. But stats fail to account for that.

Then there is that dumb construction worker hoisted 50 feet in cherry picker and moving the whole machine on wheels on Manhattan street/sidewalk, because lowering himself each time to move was too time consuming. C’mon.

Or try Mr. Rappeti’ handiwork:

All you read is dry totals for a group.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You were saying?

So, because they did something stupid on the job, the death ‘doesn’t count’? If you’re going with that line of argument, then how many of the fatalities suffered by police can be shrugged off as ‘they should have known better, it’s their own fault they died’?

The stats may make for dry reading, and not take into account avoidable accidents, but unless you feel like going through each case on an individual basis, to determine which fatality was the fault of the job vs the person, it’s all you’ve got to go off of.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: You were saying?

Deaths do not represent risk. There could be significant risk, but also significant risk managment, so the deaths are low. For example, construction worker have high fatalities, in part, because they employ young people who don’t have experience. I think I read that the majority of industrial fatalities occur in workers with less than 6 months on the job. That doesn’t mean construction work is more risky than any other work, just that the risk management system is pretty poor.

Also, these numbers don’t say deaths per manhours. These statistics give us nothing to judge how risky one profession is from another.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You were saying?

All good points. However, the numbers do clearly show that being a cop is not as risky as is often claimed. Whether because this is due to good risk management or because the job is not actually as risky as claimed is a bit beside the point.

The number of deaths (or even assaults) on cops is, compared to the man-hours put into the occupation, extremely low.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Nice comparison of apples, oranges, and random rocks.

In any dangerous job, whether you face humans or the unknown perils of nature you still have to wake up with the knowledge that you are doing something that carries high risk. That’s not unique to law enforcement. Not to mention that law enforcement receives tons of training as well as special tools to assist them.

Is the job dangerous? Yes. Is it so uniquely dangerous that they deserve special praise or mention? Absolutely not.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Nice comparison of apples, oranges, and random rocks.

Garbage collection is more necessary to civilization than law enforcement — you can scare off a mugger with a pistol, but just try preventing a plague with one.

Garbage collection is also several times more dangerous than police work. If police deserve to be excused from obeying laws or to receive special praise because of the danger and necessity of their job, then garbage collectors deserve it more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Nice comparison of apples, oranges, and random rocks.

Is the job dangerous? Yes. Is it so uniquely dangerous that they deserve special praise or mention? Absolutely not.

And let’s not forget that a construction worker seeing a precariously bad stacked number of boxes does not have the option to remove the danger to himself by shooting the stack.

He has to unstack the whole thing to get the danger under control.

And yes, getting a dangerous situation under control in a conscionable manner respecting the value of life may well be precarious for a policeman. That’s what their training should focus on rather than being cold-blooded killers.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re:

why, i just happen to know that factoid: according to the CDC stats, (this was several years ago), kops are NOT being murdered on the job at an incredible rate, it was approx 6 per 100 000, as i recall, and convenience store clerks were FAR more likely to be killed on the job…

i believe firefighters were TWICE as likely to be killed on the job as donut-eaters, but they don’t seem to bark and bray about it like kops do…

at that point, cabbies were the most dangerous occupation to be murdered on the job, i think about 5-6 times more likely than kops…
where are the crowds at the funerals of cabbies ? guess they aren’t as human as kops…

another factoid: i think it somewhere north of 90% of all kops NEVER are in a situation where they have to draw their guns… so, NO, they are not ALL being exposed to incredibly dangerous situations daily… fact of the matter is, the absolute WORST situation kops hate to respond to, AND where there is a higher likelihood of some bad outcome, are ‘domestic disturbances’, not a crack ho, or gangbanger…

Paul Renault (profile) says:

Now is a good time to educate cops and the public.

(This is handy, I’m able to copy’n’paste a comment I made on another blog…)
Whenever I come across a list of the most dangerous jobs, ‘police officer’ never ever cracks the top ten.

The next time you hear someone yammering on about cops ‘putting their life on the line, every day’, you need to speak up and point out that farmers, construction workers, loggers, fishers, and even drivers/sales workers have far more dangerous than what cops do.

The argument, really a lie, that what cops do for a living is dangerous is used to justify all sorts of bad behaviour and bad policies by the law enforcement system. I’d be willing to wager that as many people die from shoveling snow as policemen die from being killed in the line of duty.

This baseless argument’s repeated use is used to justify isolating the police officers from their community. The cops are told, repeatedly, to only way to treat the non-police public is as a danger, something that can only be dealt with by the business end of a gun, a taser, or by overwhelming police presence.

(This argument is also promoted by the arms industry, so they can benefit from increased law-enforcement budgets. Think of this, while you’re being billy-clubbed, maced, or tasered, that your wallet is also being emptied by that cop.)

This isolation creates an ‘us vs them’ world view – a world view that engenders strategies and tactics which have proved so brutal, so unnecessary, and, ultimately, so counter-productive in war zones.

The cops are told, over and over, to treat the non-police public as dangerous, a something that should only be dealt with with the business end of a gun.

When I posted the above-pasted snippet of comment, it was replied to with “but, but, but what cops do is sooo dangerous, they have to dealt with drug-addled crazy people!”.

Jeepers, what part of “The statistics prove that being a police officer isn’t dangerous” don’t they understand?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Now is a good time to educate cops and the public.

How exactly did you get that from that comment?

Because reading it myself, the general gist seemed to be ‘police are trained to see everyone out of a uniform as a potential threat, which both leads to isolation of the police from the general public(rather difficult to be on friendly terms with someone who you’re trained to see as a threat, or someone who has been trained as such), and leads them to resort to force far quicker, and far more often, than they should.’

Jeremy Lyman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Now is a good time to educate cops and the public.

Seems like Christopher interpreted Paul’s argument as a personal attack and chose to return ad hominem. I don’t think Paul intended anything of the sort and Christopher’s response (depending on his occupation) could serve as an example of the “Us vs Them” attitude we’re discussing.

MikeC (profile) says:

Looking at the numbers??

If you want to look at the numbers, then kill more civilians = less cops dead. That would be a successful outcome to a lot of policeman. If that is what they are seeking, making it safer for cops with their tactics, well you have to admit it’s working.

Now again, we can consider VietNam a pretty big success if you consider that the actual reason given for the war was to stop Communist expansion into SE Asia — it did that. It’s all a matter of what you criteria are (hope you can see the sarcasm here!).

Anonymous Coward says:

Detroit Police Chief says we need more armed citizens

…and I agree. Before all the naysayers chime in, stats show that where concealed carry is legal, gun crime is down. Also note that all the mass shootings happen in “gun free” zones. So expanding gun free zones only expands the areas that criminals feel safe pulling their guns.,d.eW0

Play Nicely says:


The idea that Police officers (and for that matter even firefighters and similar professions) on duty should regard their own safety as their top priority is nonsensical to begin with. If that was the case they shouldn’t even leave the station. Exposing yourself to danger in order to enforce the law and to protect the citizens is almost the definition of policework. It is part of the deal.

In an ambiguous situation when they are dealing with random people instead of hardened criminals I expect police officers to try to resolve problems as nonviolently as possible, even if that means taking a risk. If they can’t do that we shouldn’t respect them for “putting their lives on the line” because this is clearly not what they are doing. I want my police to hesitate before using deadly force!

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Danger

There are 3 ways to control risk. First is administrative. Have clear procedure that minimizes risk, like when to call for backup. The second is engineering. This is like putting a suspect in the back of a police car while you are questioning other suspects. The third is protection. Like wearing a bulletproof vest.

All risk can be managed with these three controls. These don’t eliminate the risks, but manage them. The risk a cop has is similar to a construction work, who has to wear a hardhat and wear a harness.

Expecting a cop to increase his risk exposure because the public doesn’t like it is ridiculous. How is a cop going to tell a random person from a criminal? He must treat every situation as having risk, and therefore follow the administrative and engineering procedures to mitigate it.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Danger

Expecting a cop to increase his risk exposure because the public doesn’t like it is ridiculous.

I partially disagree. It depends on how much increased risk exposure is being called for. If the call is that cops use violence as a last resort rather than in the top three resorts, I think that’s reasonable even if it does increase the risk to the cops a bit.

Tax Payer says:

Re: Re: Re: Danger

expecting a cop to increase risk . . ? How about demanding they change. Last time I checked they work for us. If we make it an issue we CAN change their behavior. The police state we have today people are being executed for minor offenses, mental illness and even traffic tickets. It has to STOP.

For example we could change our laws and require only non lethal options like rubber bullets while allowing only swat to have lethal force options. Yes it would make it more dangerous for police but being a cop it a dangerous job. It is supposed to be “to protect and to serve”, not “to assault and to kill”. This change would save lives and make it safer for all of us. Guaranteed.

Al says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Danger

Ok here’s a thought-imagine this… You are police officer called to a house where a man on pcp attacke his neighbor and when you arrive he attacks you with a baseball bat. Being on pcp a rubber bullet/pepper spray/ or taser would have equal effect as throwing marshmallows to defend yourself. You would be bludgeoned to death as well as anyone else the pcp-influenced maniac came across. Or how about responding to any number of incidents (that happen all around us every day) that involve deadly weapons, should you be expected to defend yourself and others when you are not at least equally as armed as the people you encounter?

Al says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Danger

You apparently have not made this comment before giving it careful consideration, police are in fact well trained in identifying substance abuse.
Often the police are being attacked on things like racial profiling (making decisions based on generalizations of personal characteristics and behavior ex. Stereotyping) when in fact is this not what you are doing for them??
It’s easy to not consider all the good they do when we don’t hear or see it in the news (instead only seeing the negative), also it appears natural to soo many people to resist law enforcement because of its functions. But remember they serve and protect, not serve and please. I think it takes a hell of an individual to still try and help their communities after so much Criticism and negativity.
Final thought- ask yourself have you ever been involved in one of these horrendous cop murders?? I think not, so how are you in any way a fair judge of the situation. Likewise, COP ARE NOT TRAINED TO SHOOT TO KILL, BUT SHOOT TO STOP. DEATH IS UNFORTUNATELY A SIDE EFFECT OF THIS. I say this because this is how 99% of officers take their training to heart, and these are NOT the officers acting as you say “judge jury and executioner” Some deaths may in fact be wrongful, but most often it is that persons actions that put them in the grave. And they will accept that in hell, so who are you to argue their case. Bis sp?ter meine Fruende.

Just Sayin' says:

Re: Re:

Very good point. As police officers have moved to wearing more secure clothing (many places required vests at all times, example), and also taking a more secure approach to dealing with citizen, they may find themselves of the injured list rather than on a morgue slab.

One other thing missing in this piece is that people in general are exhibiting less and less self control. That is to say that rather than accept a speeding ticket or other police actions against them, they become unruly, rude, aggressive, and often downright hostile.

When you combine that with a society that arms itself to the teeth for “safety”, you can see where the problems come from.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You probably don’t want to involve those particular numbers in the discussion actually, since if you’re going to ask ‘how many times were police assaulted or attacked by suspects or other citizens?’, then the reverse must be asked as well, ‘how many times were suspects or other citizens assaulted or attacked by police?’

‘Course, there’s a pretty big problem that would skew those stats, as while an officer is almost certain to report being attacked by someone, the reverse is very much not likely to be true.

After all, if someone got beat(or say, punched in the face for ‘resisting arrest’) by a badge wearing thug, you really think their first response would be to report it to more people wearing badges, especially given how widespread the belief is that police will pretty much always protect their own, via the ever so infamous ‘blue wall of silence’?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Maybe not. My point is that I don’t think the outcome of “death” directly correlates to the level of danger they’re exposed to. The whole premise is idiotic and seems calculated inflame already biased, unthinking dolts and advance a point of view. No real thought went into this.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

such a stat has no meaning -on many levels- but here is how i know: when the kops charge a protester with ‘sexual assault’ because they kissed their riot shield, then you know such stats are massively skewed and/or meaningless…

kops beat/shoot/taser someone/anyone to death? justifiable, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES… mere citizen looks sideways at a kop, and suddenly they are charged with 10 different kinds of assault on a donut-eater ? ? ?

not a level playing field, is it ? ? ?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I tried looking up the stats for assaults by and against police officers. Interestingly, while assault statistics on cops are easy to find and readily available (according to the FBI, there were 52,901 such assaults in 2012), assault statistics by police officers are very, very hard to locate — and I failed in the short amount of time I devoted to this.

However, I’ll offer rampant speculation: that number is a hell of a lot higher than the “assaulted cops” number. I’m guessing we could exceed 52,000 on the west coast alone.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

I tried looking up the stats for assaults by and against police officers. Interestingly, while assault statistics on cops are easy to find and readily available (according to the FBI, there were 52,901 such assaults in 2012), assault statistics by police officers are very, very hard to locate — and I failed in the short amount of time I devoted to this.

That’s because the police don’t “assault” people. They employ “justifiable force”.

Anonymous Coward says:

People love to exaggerate threats of vague menaces

People love to exaggerate how violent and threatening other groups are to gain support for themselves.

Take anti-immigrant groups claiming illegal immigrants are armed with guns and ‘leaving headless bodies in the Arizona desert’.

The fact is if illegal immigrants turn violent towards law enforcement it’s almost always by throwing rocks or something else nearby according to police records.

Drug gangs around the border however (which are 50% US citizens, and 50% Mexicans) do use guns when they get violent, but they aren’t illegal immigrants.

musterion (profile) says:

This article sparks some questions in my mind.

I’d like to see the category of “police” broken down into several categories like uniformed police vs plain clothes vs undercover. Also I’d like see urban vs suburban vs rural. And perhaps “regular” vs “special tactics (SWAT)”.

Additionally, this sort of puts the lie to control claims that more guns make the policeman’s job more dangerous.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Taxicab driver is the most deadly occupation. Followed by garbage collector.

It would be more meaningful if it were compared to the number of people in each occupation. There were 429 fatalities in “management occupations”, which is more than a lot of occupations on the list, for example farming, fishing, and forestry. However, that’s not because it’s so dangerous, but because there are so many people doing that.

FM HIlton (profile) says:

Public Safety

Going by the ‘dealing with the public is dangerous’ and the fact that convenience clerks get murdered at a higher rate than cops, does that mean everyone who works in a public setting should be armed and ready to attack those who look menacing?

Like for instance, me. I work in a pharmacy, and deal with some really would-be dangerous people. Does that mean I should arm myself and shoot to kill anyone who looks like they might go off on me?

(By the way, too-I’ve been in a robbery situation-not pleasant at all, but guns were not involved, although threatening behavior was.)

Yeah-the public is full of very strange dangerous people-but it does not justify thinking they’re all out to kill you.

Cops think that way, and look at the results. I’m not saying that they don’t get into very dangerous and risky situations, but thinking first and shooting later sometimes would be a better course of action.

At least it would save money for the police departments and cities where lawsuits are filed for civilian deaths under “unexplained circumstances”

FM HIlton (profile) says:


All kinds of laws can be invoked on getting a cop pissed off, even murderously so; ‘failure to submit’, and a host of others.

At the risk of being pedantic, here’s a page about ‘Contempt of Cop’ (coined by the same):

Contempt of cop is law enforcement jargon in the United States for behavior by citizens towards law enforcement officers that the officers perceive as disrespectful or insufficiently deferential to their authority.

It is a play on words, and not an actual crime. The phrase is associated with arbitrary arrest and detention and is often discussed in connection to police misconduct such as use of excessive force or even police brutality as a reaction to disrespectful behavior rather than for any legitimate law enforcement purpose.

Charges such as disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assaulting an officer may be cited as official reasons for a contempt of cop arrest. Obstructing an officer or failure to obey a lawful order is also cited in contempt of cop arrests in some jurisdictions, particularly as a stand-alone charge without any other charges brought.”

Robert says:

Here are some more stats to examine. The number of offices assaulted and injured (but not killed) by firearms and knives has remained steady for the last decade.

2012 – 221 F 117 K (338 Total)
2011 – 201 F 150 K (351 Total)
2010 – 211 F 110 K (321 Total)
2009 – 162 F 106 K (268 Total)
2008 – 190 F 124 K (314 Total)
2007 – 192 F 107 K (299 Total)
2006 – 217 F 133 K (350 Total)
2005 – 187 F 116 K (303 Total)
2004 – 190 F 143 K (333 Total)
2003 – 201 F 145 K (346 Total)…njured_2003-2012.xls…lts_topic_page_-2012

So the statistics cited in the article suggest being a cop is safer than ever, but when I add these statistics it paints a different picture.

More cops are living because of better equipment, better training, better tactics, better mindset and better medical care – but they are being assaulted by deadly weapons just as often as before.

Al says:



Al says:

We tend to forget the truth of the matter and get lost in some some numbers, so here are some for you.

In law enforcement the FIRST & MOST IMPORTANT RULE is to get home to their family at the end of each shift. Most are hardworking honest people with families like you and I and in the prime of their lives. (Unfortunately the police world is given a bad rep by a tiny fraction of bad eggs). People who hate on the police are sorely mislead by a media that strives on hate and violence which people feed off of; because hearing all the good officers do would be boring. These are same people that boast that they are not fooled by the government and blah blah blah, not realizing that they are the ones incapable of producing a single good moral thought or decision on their own. Simply try to ask yourselves if the people hurt or injured by police are really so innocent and picked on by a paramilitaristic government, what were they doing to attract law enforcement’s attention to begin with?


nasch (profile) says:

Re: We tend to forget the truth of the matter and get lost in some some numbers, so here are some for you.

Simply try to ask yourselves if the people hurt or injured by police are really so innocent and picked on by a paramilitaristic government, what were they doing to attract law enforcement’s attention to begin with?

Yeah, anybody shot by police was almost certainly guilty anyway… of SOMETHING. Really these trials are kind of a waste of time.

Al says:

Re btrussel

You bring up a very good point and a weakness in the LE system. The first point I have is one that I neither agree with nor disagree with, but do understand; and that is when things are being investigated internally they will do what they can to keep it from going public. The second is a moral dilemma officers are faced with, and the point I consider a weakness; and that is when an officer sees another officer doing something wrong it can be a tough desicion on whether it is worth bringing up or not. The issue comes where certain officers do view it as an “us against them” world and “tattling” would be of great offense. This attitude can make it tricky for some to speak up for fear of the repercussions. I advise you to look up police ethics The Thin Blue Line and the Slippery slope. It states this much better than I can.

Tony says:

Conclusions without basis

Your article points to a bunch of statistics and then you just make up your own conclusion that fits the statistics. Here is another conclusion that fits the statistics:

Police are much more competent now than in prior years.

If our police force is getting better and learning from past mistakes, you should expect to see the exact same trends. Police can’t control how many deadly situations they enter, but through good training and learning from past mistakes, they can increase the odds that the police officer is the one to survive the deadly encounter rather than the criminal.

Regardless of the actual reason for the statistics you gave, you shouldn’t just make up your own reasons for them and then blame cops, when it might be that they are doing their job exactly how we want them to be doing it.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Conclusions without basis

Police are much more competent now than in prior years.

If our police force is getting better and learning from past mistakes, you should expect to see the exact same trends.

No, I would expect to see killings by police drop, as well as deaths of police.

Police can’t control how many deadly situations they enter, but through good training and learning from past mistakes, they can increase the odds that the police officer is the one to survive the deadly encounter rather than the criminal.

First, you’re tilting the table by describing every encounter as being between police and a “criminal”.

Second, that’s not that encouraging. I don’t want police to survive by any means necessary, but that would lead to exactly the numbers we’re seeing: huge drops in police fatalities, with numbers of people killed by police not dropping so much.

Richard Rider (profile) says:

Police work not NEARLY as dangerous as most think

What’s fascinating about these statistics is the recent TREND. The number of police fatalities nationwide have dropped DRAMATICALLY in the last couple of years. Police mortality is the lowest it’s been in over 50 years. And police officers killed by guns dropped 33% just last year!

Moreover, California has a particularly low cop death rate — our CA five year average is 4.4 per 100,000 cops per year — compared with the national average for ALL occupations in 2013 of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 per year.

There are many occupations more dangerous than police work. Any robust outdoor work is likely more fatal than what cops face. That includes truck drivers, construction laborers, extraction industries, farming, ranching, coaching(!) and a number of other jobs.

Here’s an article I wrote in this in January, 2014:

Included is a list of more dangerous occupations with the numbers.

BTW, given our considerably better than average police (and firefighter) mortality rate in California, I puzzle over this anomaly:

The average California firefighter is paid 60% more than paid firefighters in other 49 states. CA cops paid 56% more.

Stephen Fox says:

So it’s safer than it used to be. So? Good should be the answer, not the usual bitch about cops. We pay them to stop assholes killing and robbing the rest of us, not to get killed themselves. Every so often one of them will get it wrong. Maybe liberals could try a little of the human understanding they’re so fond of, being as they’re not actually risking their own lives and all?

Wayne Rizor says:

Protect yourself by thinking ahead.

I have a concealed carry permit and when I’m driving I always have my drivers license and concealed carry card in my shirt pocket so I don’t have to make my hands disappear from the officers sight if I’m ever stopped. I’m sure that a stop license inquiry will also bring up my concealed carry permit and warn the officer that there may be a handgun in the car. One cannot be too careful!

Brett Page says:

Fewer police being killed is not evidence of a safer working environment. Total injury rate per 100,000 police is a more accurate measure (which, of course, is not quoted here because it does not align with the writer’s prejudged position). Here’s some salient information:

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