Ambush shootings were the leading cause of felonious law enforcement officer deaths in 2014 for the fifth year in a row, and gun-related incidents were the overall leading cause of officers killed in the line of duty, and such deaths increased 56% over 2013 figures, according to a recently published preliminary report.
The report, which came from the National Law Enforcement Memorial fund, is preliminary because it was released Tuesday — 2014 still had two more days to run.
The report also indicated there was an overall rise in police officer deaths during 2014.
In total, “126 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2014, a 24 percent increase from 2013, when 102 officers were killed,” the report said.
The number-two cause of officer deaths came from traffic-related incidents, accounting for 49 fatalities, while 27 died from other causes, such as heart attack. But it’s the felonious assault deaths that remain the most troubling. The report said:
Sixty-two officers were killed in felonious incidents, a 40 percent increase from 2013, and 64 officers died as a result of non-felonious incidents, increasing 10 percent.
Then there are the statistics that attach a face to the fallen, and remind us that these aren’t mere numbers — they’re human lives. The report said:
Three of the fallen officers were female. The average age of a fallen officer was 41, with an average of 12 years of service. Each officer left behind two children on average.
“With the increasing number of ambush-style attacks against our officers, I am deeply concerned that a growing anti-government sentiment in America is influencing weak-minded individuals to launch violent assaults against the men and women working to enforce our laws and keep our nation safe,” NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd said in a statement Tuesday, according to CNS News. “Enough is enough. We need to tone down the rhetoric and rally in support of law enforcement and against lawlessness.”