The year 2021 saw the highest number of police officers killed in the line of duty in modern history, with 458 officers dying over the course of the year.
As reported by Fox News, the number is the highest since record-keeping first began, surpassing the previous high of 1930, which saw 312 officers killed on the job. The report was released on Tuesday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), pointing out that the numbers reflected an increase of 55 percent over the 2020 total of 295 deaths. The comprehensive report includes officers at every level, including municipal, county, state, and federal, as well as military, territorial, campus, and tribal law enforcement.
The report claims that COVID-19 was the leading cause of law enforcement deaths, with NLEOMF executive director Troy Anderson remarking that “this number appears to be increasing almost daily.” The second-highest cause of death was firearms-related incidents, with traffic fatalities coming in third.
“The magnitude of this type of loss is everlasting in the hearts and minds of those left behind to continue the work of public safety,” Anderson said in a video statement. “While much of this report is delivered through numbers and statistics, it is paramount that we keep in mind that every number here represents someone’s loved one – a life, a son or daughter, a mother or father. A law enforcement officer who made the ultimate sacrifice for a profession that they believed in and died for.”
Although the group mentioned that the numbers in the report were preliminary and not complete, it claimed that 301 officers, roughly 66 percent of the overall total, died of the coronavirus. Sixty-two officers were killed by firearms, with October being the deadliest month for these types of incidents, seeing eight officers killed in the line of duty. Another fifty-eight officers died in traffic-related incidents.