The National Law Enforcement Policemen Memorial Fund released its preliminary yearly report on Wednesday, revealing that 64 more police officers were killed by gunfire in 2022.
The number of police officers killed by gunfire is now significantly lower than it was 50 years ago. However, the Washington, D.C.-based charity expressed concern over a “disturbing pattern” since the number of officer deaths remained unchanged from the previous year.
The CEO of the group, Marcia Ferranto, has stated that the findings should drive officer safety and wellness programs across the country to study why more police are dying by firearms now than they were a decade ago.
What You Need to Know About the Deaths of Law Enforcement
According to the analysis, there would have been an average of 53 police officer fatalities each year due to firearms-related accidents between 2010 and 2020. At 64, the number of homicides caused by firearms in 2022 is 21% more than the average for the preceding decade.
Last year, 226 police officers from all levels of government were killed in the course of duty. According to the research, this drop of 61% from 2021 was caused “nearly completely” by a decrease in deaths caused by COVID-19.
Seventy police officers were killed by COVID-19, making it the biggest cause of officer deaths in the line of duty even after deaths caused by guns.
The report also states that 56 cops were killed in traffic-related situations, such as car accidents or being struck by another vehicle while on foot.
Officers of the law ambushed and killed by their colleagues
Of the dozens of police officers killed in 2016, 11 were ambushed, 10 were attempting arrests, 9 were dealing with domestic disputes, 8 were investigating “suspicious circumstances or people,” 6 were shot and killed during traffic stops, and 5 were killed while responding to calls about disturbances.
Out of the total number of cops wounded, four were shot “inadvertently or wrongly” by their colleagues, three were shot while serving civil documents and responding to robbery calls, two were shot while serving a felony warrant, and one was shot while “handling an inmate,” according to the report. The other two deaths were “fuzzy” at best.
The survey found that California had the most police deaths using firearms with five, followed by Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas with four deaths apiece.
Why are there more police shooting deaths now than ever before?
According to Ferranto, it is currently unclear what factors are behind the rise in officer weapons deaths. She said her group will be gathering more data to help figure out what’s going on and how to fix it.