2018 was yet another violent year for America’s police officers. In total, 148 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty which is 6% higher than 2017.
At the time of this article’s publishing, seven officers have already been killed in the line of duty in 2019. As we move forward in the new year, here are some key statistics on 2018 police officer line of duty deaths. We hope and pray to see these numbers decrease in 2019.
Most line of duty deaths caused by criminals
Of the 148 officers we lost in 2018, 59% of them died as a result of encounters with criminals. These included incidents related to criminal gunfire, high-speed pursuits and criminal assaults. Criminal gunfire alone accounted for 52 officer deaths in 2018, 11 of which were the result of premeditated ambush attacks.
Demographics of fallen officers
Most officers killed in the line of duty in 2018 were in their 20s and 30s, the youngest of whom was only 23 years old. On average, 2018 fallen officers had 12 years of law enforcement experience. However, one of the fallen officers in 2018 had only 7 days of service before making the ultimate sacrifice. There were also 32 military veterans among 2018’s fallen law enforcement officers.
Line of duty deaths by state
The state of New York experienced 15 law enforcement officer deaths in 2018, the most in the country. Texas was second with 12 officer deaths, followed closely by California and Florida with 11 line of duty deaths. Overall, the southern United States experienced the highest rate of police line of duty deaths with 50 officers killed.
Unfortunately, violence against police officers in the United States rose in 2018. From traffic stops to ambush attacks, police officers around the country are facing more and more dangers on the job. We hope and pray that we will not have to report on another jump in police line of duty deaths at the end of 2019.