Last week, we blogged about the line-of-duty deaths that occurred in 2013. There were 111 state, local, tribal, or federal law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths last year, the lowest recorded number in over 50 years. While this notable decline is encouraging, even one death of a law enforcement officer is unacceptable.
A closer look at fatality data reveals:
- The average age of an officer killed in the line-of-duty was 42.
- The average length of service was 13 years.
Age and experience of the officers killed in 2013 is comparable to prior years:
- The average age of an officer killed in both 2011 and 2012 was 41.
- The average length of service for 2011 and 2012 fatalities was 13 and 12 years respectively.
These numbers show that seasoned officers, despite their experience on the job, are no less susceptible to die or be killed on-the-job. A 2012 Police Chief article, “Predictable is Preventable,” highlights FBI research from 1997-2010 showing that the average age of officers accidentally killed in the line-of-duty was 38, and average length of service was 10 years.
It is the IACP’s position that no injury to or death of a law enforcement professional is acceptable, and the IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness strives to improve awareness on all aspects of officer safety. If you have any best practices to share pertaining to officer complacency or unique training programs to improve situational awareness and vigilance, please feel free to contact the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.