Five ambush-style incidents that ended in the shooting deaths of 15 police officers put a damper on a positive trend, says USA Today: The number of officers who died in the line of duty in 2009 was the lowest in 50 years. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund reports that 124 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty this year, down 7 percent from last year and the lowest number since 1959.
“When you consider there are three times the number of officers serving today  that makes the numbers even more favorable,” says fund chairman Craig Floyd. The number of officers killed by gunfire – 15 in multiple shootings — was the most of any year since 1981. The number of officers shot and killed rose 23 percent since last year to 48. “The officers did nothing wrong,” says Bill Bochter, assistant Pittsburgh police chief. “We’ve got good soft body armor, excellent tactics and incredibly well-trained trauma units. All of that helps but, unfortunately, I don’t know if there’s a way to prevent it when someone is intent on taking officers’ lives in an ambush.”