A memorial fund for police officers reported the highest-ever recorded total of on-duty fatalities in 2021 (458).
Not only was that a 55% increase from the 2020 election-year total of 295 due in part to the George Floyd riots and attacks on police, but the last year to see more than even 300 on-duty deaths was almost 100 years ago in 1930, when there were 312, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund report.
The number of fatal shootings of police also rose 38% in 2021 versus 2020, according to the report.
"The leading circumstance of firearms fatalities were officers killed in ambush-style attacks," the report read. "A total of 19 officers were killed in ambush attacks in 2021, a significant increase over only 6 such attacks in 2020."
Of the 62 firearms fatalities reported by the fund:
- 19 were ambushed and killed.
- 8 were investigating suspicious activities or persons.
- 7 were attempting an arrest.
- 7 were killed responding to domestic disturbance calls, which led to a tactical situation and an ambush.
- 7 disturbance calls, which led to a tactical situation.
- 3 were killed during traffic enforcement, which led to an ambush.
- 3 were fatally shot responding to burglary or robbery in-progress calls.
- 3 involved drug-related investigations.
- 2 were killed during tactical encounters.
- 2 were inadvertently and accidentally shot and killed.
- 1 was killed during an encounter with a suicidal subject.
COVID-19 remains the largest killer of police (301), and the death totals are still increasing on the preliminary numbers — thus far a 65% increase over the first year of the pandemic in 2020 — according to the fund.
"Law enforcement officers nationwide continue to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus in the course of their daily assignments; therefore, the number of line-of-duty deaths is sadly ever-increasing," the report read.
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