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Officers Accidentally Killed

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The following information concerns law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2017 as a result of accidental incidents. The law enforcement officers included in this report met certain criteria, such as, they had full arrest powers and they ordinarily wore/carried a badge and a firearm.

Overview

  • In 2017, 47 law enforcement officers died as the result of accidents that occurred in the line of duty. (See Table 48.)
  • Accidental line-of-duty deaths of law enforcement officers occurred in 26 states. (See Table 48.)
  • By region, 27 officers who were accidentally killed were employed by agencies in the South, 9 by agencies in the Midwest, 6 by agencies in the West, and 5 by agencies in the Northeast. (See Table 48.)
  • Of the officers accidentally killed, 17 were employed by city police departments, 17 were employed by county agencies, and 13 were employed by state agencies. (See Table 49.)

Victim profile

  • The average age of the officers who were accidentally killed in 2017 was 40 years. (See Table 55.)
  • The average length of law enforcement service for the officers accidentally killed in the line of duty was 12 years. (See Table 56.)
  • Of the 47 officers who were accidentally killed, 41 were White, 3 were Black/African American, 2 were American Indian/Alaska Native, and 1 was Asian. (See Table 60.)
  • 45 of the officers who died in 2017 due to accidental line-of-duty incidents were male; 2 were female. (See Table 60.)

Circumstances (See Table 65.)

Of the officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2017:

  • 35 died as a result of motor vehicle crashes. Ten officers were responding to emergencies, 9 were patrolling, 4 were engaging in vehicle pursuits, 3 were performing traffic stops, 3 were responding to nonemergency circumstances, 1 was performing traffic control, and 5 officers died in other types of motor vehicle crashes.
  • 6 were pedestrian officers struck by vehicles. Two officers were assisting or investigating vehicle crashes, 1 was assisting a motorist, and 1 was deploying or providing equipment. Two officers were struck by vehicles in other situations.
  • 3 officers drowned. Two were participating in training exercises, and 1 officer was patrolling.
  • 2 officers died in an aircraft accident.
  • 1 officer died in another type of accident.

Assignments (See Table 66.)

  • 27 of the on-duty officers accidentally killed in 2017 were alone at the time of the incidents.
  • 17 on-duty officers had assistance at the time of their fatal accidents.
  • 3 officers were off duty but acting in official capacities at the time of the fatal accidents.

Months, days, and times of incidents

  • More officers (18) died from accidental line-of-duty incidents that occurred in January, February, and August than in any other months in 2017. Six officers died in each of these months. (See Table 54.)
  • More officers were fatally injured in accidents on Tuesdays in 2017, with 10 officers accidentally killed. (See Table 51.)
  • 24 officers were killed as a result of accidents occurring between 12:01 a.m. and noon. (See Table 50.)
  • 22 officers were fatally injured in accidents that occurred between 12:01 p.m. and midnight. (See Table 50.)
  • The time of incident was not reported for 1 officer who was accidentally killed in 2017. (See Table 50.)

Information about officers accidentally killed may be found in Tables 48-70.