Law enforcement officer deaths in the line of duty increased 20 percent in the first half of 2009 after hitting a 50-year low, says the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). The organizations says that 66 law enforcement officers died between Jan. 1 and June 30, compared with 55 last year. Even with the increase, the report said the 2009 total is the second lowest since 1965.
Traffic-related deaths remained the number one cause; gun deaths rose slightly, from 20 to 22. “While it is encouraging that officer fatalities remain comparatively low, the 2009 figures do present some cause for concern,” said NLEOMF chairman Craig Floyd. “Officers continue to face serious threats from armed offenders who don't think twice about opening fire on law enforcement. That was tragically illustrated by the horrific multiple-death incidents this year in Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Okaloosa County, Fl.,” he said.