Archive 2008 - 2019

126 Law Enforcement Fatalities Nationwide in 2014

by Sgt. Matthew Waugh

Firearms-related fatalities spike 56 percent while ambushes remain the leading cause of felonious deaths.

According to preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 126 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2014, a 24 percent increase from 2013, when 102 offi cers were killed.

Firearms-related incidents were the leading cause of death among law enforcement officers in 2014. Firearms related fatalities accounted for 50 deaths, increasing 56 percent from 2013 when 32 officers were killed. Traffic-related incidents were the second leading cause of officer deaths in 2014, killing 49 officers. Thirty-five officers died in automobile crashes, nine officers were struck and killed outside their vehicle and five officers were killed in motorcycle crashes. Traffic-related fatalities increased 11 percent from 2013 when 44 officers were killed.

Twenty-seven officers died from other causes in 2014 compared to 26 in 2013, a four percent increase. Job-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, nearly doubled in 2014 with 24 officer deaths compared to 13 officers in 2013. Sixty-two officers were killed in felonious incidents, a 40 percent increase from 2013, and 64 officers died as a result of non-felonious incidents, increasing 10 percent. California led the nation in officer fatalities, losing 14 officers in 2014. Texas followed closely behind with 11 fatalities, while New York lost nine officers. Florida lost six officers and Georgia lost five officers. Six federal officers, five officers from U.S. territories, two tribal officers, two correctional officers and a military officer were killed in 2014. Twelve states and the District of Columbia did not lose an officer in 2014. Three of the fallen officers were female. The average age of a fallen officer was 41, with an average of 12 years of service. Each officer left behind two children on average.

 Although firearms fatalities increased in 2014, they remain below the decade average (53). Handguns were the leading type of firearm used in fatal shootings of law enforcement officers in 2014. Of the 50 firearms-related fatalities, 68 percent, or 34 officers, were shot and killed with a handgun. Seven officers were shot and killed with assault weapons; three officers each were shot and killed with a shotgun and a rifle. The type of gun used to kill three officers is currently unknown.

On a happier note, I am pleased to let you all know that funding was made available again for a second citizen’s academy.  This is possible because of the positive response we got from past attendees and their vocal support of the program to the administration.  Whenever I get a chance to see one of you I always come away knowing that the previous academy was a success and we provided you all an informative glimpse of what we do.  More information regarding the specific dates will be forthcoming but if you have people interested please do not hesitate to point them in my direction.

Sgt. Matthew H. Waugh