Crime in America.Net
Are state and local budget cuts having an impact on police officer safety?
Dear readers: There are two sources on law enforcement officer injuries and deaths, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (source at bottom of article). The Memorial Fund states,
“Following a two year decline, law enforcement fatalities in 2010 spiked to 160. This was an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to last year, when 117 officers were killed in the line of duty.”
As we said when the FBI released their statistics (http://crimeinamerica.net/2010/10/18/48-law-enforcement-officers-murdered-47-die-in-accidents-57000-assaulted-in-2009/) “There’s not much more to say than the numbers provided from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This story will get little play in mainstream media and all we ask you to do is to acknowledge the sacrifice of the tens of thousands of officers killed and injured and their families in your service.”
What does concern us are the never-ending media articles and reports as to state and local budget cuts. Question; are the cuts having an impact on what we ask our police officers to do? Are they stretched too thin? Are they taking too many risks with fewer officers available to respond to calls?
Regular visitors to this site say that they grow weary of posts on budget cuts so we do not have a litany of links, but police officer positions in multiple cities and states have been cut and new recruit classes postponed. For those interested in the articles we have posted, see http://crimeinamerica.net/category/budgetimpact/.
We have no proof that budget cuts have anything to do with officer safety beyond the never-ceasing articles detailing reductions in criminal justice systems across the board. Never-the-less, we can’t help but wonder. Our police officer students tell us that their profession is more challenging than ever and that staffing levels have either decreased or haven’t increased to meet the demands of the job.
Report from the National Police Officer Memorial Fund–Law Enforcement Fatalities Spike Dangerously in 2010
Following a two year decline, law enforcement fatalities in 2010 spiked to 160. This was an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to last year, when 117 officers were killed in the line of duty.
Preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that for the 13th year in a row, traffic fatalities were the leading cause of officer fatalities, with 73 officers killed in the line of duty—an increase of 43 percent from 2009.
Of the 73 traffic-related fatalities in 2010, 50 officers died in automobile crashes, 16 were struck and killed by automobiles while outside of their vehicles, 1 died in a bicycle accident, and 6 died in motorcycle crashes.
Firearm fatalities increased 20 percent, from 49 deaths in 2009 to 59 in 2010.
Even more alarming, multiple fatality shootings accounted for nearly 20 percent of all fatal shootings. Five incidents occurred in: Fresno, CA, San Juan, PR, West Memphis, AR, Tampa, FL, and Hoonah, AK, accounting for 10 officer deaths.
Thirty nine states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico experienced officer fatalities during 2010. For the third year in a row, Texas (18), Florida (9) and California (11) were in the top five states with the most fatalities—a combined total of 38, or 24 percent of the national total for 2010.
Eleven federal law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2010, including three U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and two agents from the U.S. Border Patrol.
The average age of the officers killed in 2010 was 41; the average length of their law enforcement service was nearly 12 years and on average each officer left behind 2 children.
The statistics released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund are preliminary data and do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial for 2010.