Fatal heart attacks among law enforcement officers have increased this year, and most strike victims under 50, say fatality data compiled by two police groups and reported by USA Today. So far this year, nine of the 58 officer deaths have been attributed to heart attacks, drawing attention from the most volatile and traditional causes — guns and vehicle accidents.
Overall, officer deaths are down 2 percent this year; firearm deaths are down 14 percent, and fatal traffic incidents are down 21 perdent, say the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Officer Down. The nine heart attack victims this year represent three more than in all of last year. “The number does look dramatic,” said Bart Johnson, executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. “This has been on our radar screen for a while now.” The IACP has been consulting with health care company Johnson & Johnson to develop a better approach to officer wellness as part of the association’s new Center for Officer Safety and Wellness.