A record number of fatal traffic incidents and a spike in shooting deaths made 2007 the deadliest year for law enforcement in more than a decade, reports the Associated Press. With the exception of 2001, which saw a dramatic increase in deaths because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, 2007 was the deadliest year for law enforcement since 1989, said preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors.
The report 186 officers dead as of yesterday, up from 145 last year. Eighty-one died in traffic incidents, which exceeded the record of 78 in 2000. Shooting deaths increased from 52 to 69, a rise of about 33 percent. An officer is killed in the U.S. on average every other day, said Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Officer fatalities peaked at 277 in 1974 and then declined. Historically, officers have been more likely to be killed in an attack than to die accidentally, and shootings outnumbered car crashes; those trends began to reverse in the late 1990s.