Nationwide, 160 officers were killed in 2010, as police fatalities jumped 37 percent after two years of declines, according to preliminary figures from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reported by the Baltimore Sun. Vehicle crashes accounted for almost half of the nationwide increase.
Craig Floyd, chief executive of the fund, said it’s difficult to impress upon officers the need to put safety first when responding to an incident. “Just in talking to officers, you get the sense that they’re worried about every split second when they get a call,” he said. “I wish they’d take fewer chances themselves.” As of yesterday, Floyd’s organization had counted 59 deaths by gunfire – 10 more than in 2009. That 20 percent increase was eclipsed by a 43 percent spike in the number of traffic-related fatalities, from 51 in 2009 to 73 this year. It was the 13th straight year that vehicle-related incidents were the leading cause of officers’ deaths. Deaths attributed to other causes – including job-related illnesses, beatings and aircraft crashes — increased from 13 to 28.