COVID Now the Leading Cause of U.S. Law Enforcement Deaths

In the first half of this year, 71 members of U.S. law enforcement agencies died of COVID-19.

COVID Now the Leading Cause of U.S. Law Enforcement Deaths

Photo via Adobe, by Tomasz Zajda

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 182 law enforcement officers died of COVID-19 last year. Add the 71 officers who have died in the first half of this year from the virus, and COVID is now the leading cause of law enforcement officer line-of-duty fatalities.

The 71 deaths reported in the first six months of this year represent a slight decrease from the 76 COVID deaths reported during the same time period in 2020. In all, 132 members of U.S. law enforcement agencies are known to have died from COVID in 2021.

Despite the alarming rate of deaths, police officers and other first responders are some of the most hesitant Americans to get vaccinated for the coronavirus, and the number of their cases continues to rise, reports the Associated Press.

TAKE OUR QUICK SURVEY: What percentage of staff members in your department are vaccinated for COVID-19?

Although there aren’t any statistics on the vaccination rate for all U.S. first responders, individual police and fire departments across the nation say the rate of inoculation among their employees is much lower than the national rate of nearly 74% of adults who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. For example, the Austin, Texas Police Department estimates about 50% of its force is vaccinated, reports KXAN. The Charleston, West Virginia Police Department says more than 50% of its employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19, reports WCHS.

Despite the high rate of deaths among law enforcement officers, national and local police unions are fighting vaccine mandates, reports KTLA.

When the vaccines received emergency authorization by the FDA, first responders were among the first to be authorized to receive the shot.

TAKE OUR QUICK SURVEY: What percentage of staff members in your department are vaccinated for COVID-19?

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About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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One response to “COVID Now the Leading Cause of U.S. Law Enforcement Deaths”

  1. Sgt. J. Weiss, Ret. says:

    If Covid deaths are considered a line of duty death the officers will be eligible for pension, disability, and other benefits usually reserved for LOD deaths. I think it is worth considering that these deaths be evaluated for whether the officer was vaccinated during a time period before the death. Not having been vaccinated could be viewed as negligence on the part of those that did not opt into the vaccination program. While the issue of an individual’s right to his choice might also be considered so also should the concept that every individual should be held accountable and responsible for those choices. Allowing an individual to choose a dangerous course of action which might contribute to his demise demeans the death of those who make the ultimate sacrifice while running to the guns.

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