October 21, 2019
FBI Releases 2018 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty
Washington, D.C.—According to statistics reported to the FBI, 106 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2018. Of these, 55 officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 51 officers died in accidents. Comprehensive data tables about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks are included in the sections of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018. Also included are national statistics about officers assaulted in the line of duty and narratives concerning a subset of assault incidents in which officers received injuries with firearms or knives/cutting instruments.
The 55 felonious deaths occurred in 28 states and in Puerto Rico. The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2018 was 9 more than the 46 officers who were feloniously killed in 2017. The 5- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 4 felonious deaths compared with the 2014 figure (51 officers) and an increase of 7 deaths compared with 2009 data (48 officers).
Officer Profiles. The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 37 years old. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 10 years at the times of the fatal incidents. Of the 55 officers:
- 52 were male.
- 3 were female.
- 46 were White.
- 7 were Black/African American.
- 2 were Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
Circumstances. Of the 55 officers feloniously killed:
- 23 died as a result of investigative or enforcement activities.
- 8 were performing investigative activities.
- 6 were involved in tactical situations.
- 3 were interacting with wanted persons.
- 3 were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances.
- 2 were conducting traffic violation stops.
- 1 was handling a person with mental illness.
- 4 were involved in foot pursuits.
- 2 were involved in vehicular pursuits.
- 2 were burglaries in progress.
- 1 was a report of a person with a firearm.
- 1 was reported in the category of other crime against property.
- 11 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation).
- 6 were involved in pursuits.
- 4 were responding to crimes in progress.
- 3 were involved in arrest situations and were attempting to control/handcuff/restrain the offender(s) during the arrest situations.
- 2 were on administrative assignments and were performing prisoner transports.
- 2 were assisting other law enforcement officers with foot pursuits.
- 2 were responding to disorders or disturbances.
- 1 was responding to a disturbance call.
- 1 was responding to a domestic violence call.
- 1 was performing traffic control.
- 1 was involved in an unprovoked attack.
Weapons. Offenders used firearms to kill 51 of the 55 victim officers. Four officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons. Of the 51 officers killed by firearms:
- 37 were slain with handguns.
- 10 with rifles.
- 2 with shotguns.
- 2 with firearms in which the types of firearms were not reported.
Regions. Felonious deaths were reported in four U.S. regions and Puerto Rico.
- 26 officers were feloniously killed in the South.
- 12 in the Midwest.
- 12 in the West.
- 4 in the Northeast.
- 1 in Puerto Rico.
Suspects. Law enforcement agencies identified 55 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths.
- 49 of the assailants had prior criminal arrests.
- 20 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the times of the felonious incidents.
Fifty-one law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2018, an increase of 3 when compared with the 48 officers accidentally killed in 2017. The majority (34 officers) were killed in motor vehicle crashes.
Officer Profile. The average age of officers who were accidentally killed was 36 years old; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 10. Of the 51 officers accidentally killed:
- 47 were male.
- 4 were female.
- 39 were White.
- 8 were Black/African American.
- 3 were American Indian/Alaska Native.
- 1 was Asian.
Circumstances. The 51 officers accidentally killed died in a variety of scenarios:
- 34 died as a result of motor vehicle crashes.
- 29 while operating cars, SUVs, trucks, or vans.
- 5 while operating ATVs or motorcycles.
- 9 were pedestrian officers struck by vehicles.
- 3 officers drowned.
- 2 were killed in firearm-related incidents.
- 1 officer fell while engaging in a foot pursuit.
- 2 officers died in an other type of duty-related accident when they were struck by a commuter train.
Use of seatbelts. Of the 29 officers killed in motor vehicle crashes while operating cars, SUVs, trucks, or vans, 8 were wearing seatbelts, and 15 were not. Data about seatbelt usage was not reported for 6 of the officers.
Of the 15 officers who were fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes and were not wearing seatbelts, 1 was seated in a parked motor vehicle at the time of the accident.
Regions. Accidental deaths were reported in four U.S. regions and Puerto Rico.
- 27 of the accidental deaths occurred in the South.
- 11 in the Midwest.
- 7 in the West.
- 5 in the Northeast.
- 1 in Puerto Rico.
In 2018, of the 58,866 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 30.6 percent were injured. The largest percentage of victim officers (31.0 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls. Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 79.3 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.6 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 2.0 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 15.1 percent of assaults.
Changes to Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018.
New release schedule. In an effort to provide a more timely release of data to the public, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018 was released in two installments. In May 2019, three sections were published, including data and statistics concerning officers feloniously and accidentally killed and statistics about federal officers killed and/or assaulted. The remaining portions of the publication were released on October 21 and present data reported to the FBI concerning law enforcement officers assaulted in the line of duty in 2018. This section also includes detailed assault data containing statistics and narratives concerning a subset of assault incidents in which officers received injuries with firearms, knives, or other cutting instruments.
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2018, is available exclusively on the FBI’s website at https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2018.