Number of Law Officer Deaths Continued to Decline in 2005

WASHINGTON, According to a report released Dec. 22 by two nonprofit organizations that track officer deaths, 153 U.S. law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2005. This number continues a 30-year downward trend in the number of police officer deaths.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and the Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), California had the most fatalities with 17 deaths. Texas had 14 and Georgia had 10.

In 2005, traffic incidents were the leading cause of death. Forty-one officers were killed in auto accidents, 15 were struck by vehicles and six died in motorcycle accidents.

Shootings were the second leading cause of death (60), and 21 officers died of job-related illnesses.

The 1970s was the deadliest decade for law enforcement officers with more than 220 officers on average killed each year. Since that time, the fatality rate has declined to about 160 deaths per year during the past decade. The recent decrease is attributed, in part, to improved officer training, better body armor and the use of less-lethal weapons.

Despite the overall decrease, since the 1970s, the number of officers killed in auto accidents has increased by 40 percent.

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