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About Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted

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The FBI publishes Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) each year to provide information about officers who were killed, feloniously or accidentally, and officers who were assaulted while performing their duties. The FBI collects these data through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

History

Beginning in 1937, the FBI’s UCR Program collected and published statistics on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in its annual publication, Crime in the United States. Statistics regarding assaults on officers were added in 1960. In June 1971, executives from the law enforcement conference, “Prevention of Police Killings,” called for an increase in the FBI’s involvement in preventing and investigating officers’ deaths. In response to this directive, the UCR Program expanded its collection of data to include more details about the incidents in which law enforcement officers were killed and assaulted.

Using this comprehensive set of data, the FBI began in 1972 to produce two reports
annually, the Law Enforcement Officers Killed Summary and the Analysis of Assaults
on Federal Officers. These two reports were combined in 1982 to create the annual
publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

Updates and changes to this publication

This year, the LEOKA program is releasing the 2017 publication on a new schedule. Also, due to a technical refresh, this year’s publication includes additional details about incidents in which officers are killed and assaulted. These changes mean some tables have new numbers, but all data previously available is still included in this publication.

New release schedule. In an effort to provide a more timely release of data to the public, the FBI is releasing portions of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017 ahead of the traditional fall timetable. The publication will be delivered in three installments:

Sections included in the Spring 2018 release

  • Officers Feloniously Killed
  • Officers Accidentally Killed
  • Federal Officers Killed and Assaulted

Section included in the Summer 2018 release

  • Officers Assaulted

Section included in the Fall 2018 release

  • Officers Assaulted – Detailed Assault Data

Expanded data

This year’s publication includes additional details about incidents in which officers are killed and assaulted in the line of duty. Because of the technical refresh, the database containing LEOKA information can process more information than ever before. Data elements have now been divided into more specific categories and added to the database. For instance, in previous years’ tables that report the assignments of officers who are feloniously killed, 5 categories were available: 2-officer vehicle patrol, 1-officer vehicle patrol, foot patrol, off duty, and other. Now, the assignment tables have been expanded to include 9 assignment categories: 1-officer patrol, 2-officer patrol, investigative/detective, tactical (in uniform), special assignment, court/prisoner security, plainclothes assignment, other activities, and off-duty.

Table changes and updates

As a result of these database updates and the changes to the release schedule, new tables have been added and some tables have been renumbered. All of the statistics previously included in the publication are still available, but some statistics are not directly comparable with prior years’ statistics because topics are broken into more categories. See Updates to Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017 for a description of all changes to this publication.

Data considerations

When reviewing the tables, charts, and summaries presented in this publication, readers should be aware of certain features of the LEOKA data collection process that could affect their interpretation of the information.

  • The data in the tables and charts reflect the number of victim officers, not the number of incidents or weapons used.
  • The UCR Program considers any parts of the body that can be used as weapons (such as hands, fists, or feet) to be personal weapons and designates them as such in its data.
  • Law enforcement agencies use a different methodology for collecting and reporting data about officers who were killed than the methodology used for those who were assaulted. As a result, information about officers killed and information about officers assaulted reside in two separate databases, and the data are not comparable.
  • Because the information in the tables of this publication is updated each year, the FBI cautions readers against making comparisons between the data in this publication and those in prior editions.

Caution against comparisons with data from other organizations

The FBI’s LEOKA Program is one of a number of entities that report information concerning line-of-duty deaths and/or assaults of law enforcement officers in the United States. Each organization has its own purpose and may use different methods to collect and report information or focus on somewhat different aspects of these important topics. Therefore, care should be taken not to compare LEOKA data to data provided by other entities, such as the Officer Down Memorial Page, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, and others. More information about the LEOKA Program’s mission and history is included on this page. Refer to the Criteria page for the requirements that determine which officers are included in this report.

Training

Based on more than 40 years of research and data collection, the LEOKA Program provides free Officer Safety Awareness Training (OSAT) to city, college and university, county, state, tribal, federal, and international law enforcement agencies. The goal of the LEOKA Program’s OSAT course is to provide relevant, high quality, potentially lifesaving information to law enforcement agencies focusing on why an incident occurred, as opposed to what occurred during the incident. (Tactical issues are not part of the training.) To request an OSAT course in your area, e-mail the training staff at .

Publishing on the Web

For several years, the FBI’s UCR staff worked toward the goal of publishing all of its reports solely to the Internet, which removes many of the limitations of hard copy books without losing the value of the information. Beginning with the 2005 edition, the FBI began producing Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted exclusively as a Web publication. That report, along with the subsequent publications, contains all the information that was published in previous years’ hard copy reports but with the benefits of navigable files and downloadable information.

eBook and Portable Document Format (PDF) file available

Included on the home page of this electronic publication of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2017, are links to an eBook and a PDF file of summaries of incidents in which law enforcement officers were killed or assaulted and injured in the line of duty. The current compilation of narratives includes 14 years of information and will be updated for 2017 in the fall of 2018.

The objective of these products is to offer LEOKA information in portable, convenient formats (.epub and pdf) that can be downloaded for use on mobile devices (e.g., tablets, smartphones, etc.) by law enforcement researchers, trainers, and other partners.

What do you think?

The E-Government Act of 2002 promotes more efficient uses of information technology by the federal government. This online report is a product of the FBI’s effort to reach a larger audience more efficiently. The FBI welcomes your input about this electronic report via a short Feedback Form. Your comments will help us improve the presentation of future releases of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.

What you won't find on this page

Raw data. The data presented in Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted provide information about law enforcement officers killed and assaulted in the nation broken down by state and region. More detailed data (including the source data from which this publication is created) may be obtained by contacting the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division via e-mail at leoka.statistics@fbi.gov.

LEOKA data for 2018. The LEOKA data collected in 2018 will be released in 2019.

Questions?

To submit questions about this information or for Web assistance, contact the FBI’s LEOKA Program at leoka.statistics@fbi.gov.