By the FBI
A total of 118 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016, according to the FBI’s annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report released today.
Of those deaths, 52 were accidental and 66 were felonious.
Additionally, 57,180 officers were assaulted in the line of duty, with nearly 30 percent of those officers being injured in the incidents.
All of these numbers increased from figures reported in 2015, when 45 officers died accidentally and 41 were feloniously killed in the line of duty.
There were 50,212 assaults against law enforcement listed in the 2015 LEOKA report.
Through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program, the FBI collects data about the circumstances surrounding assaults against law enforcement and officer deaths.
The data is collected from campus, local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as FBI field offices and non-profit organizations that track line-of-duty deaths.
The 66 felonious deaths occurred in 29 states and in Puerto Rico.
The number of officers killed as a result of criminal acts in 2016 increased by 25 when compared with the 41 officers who were feloniously killed in 2015.
The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of 17 felonious deaths compared with the 2012 figure (49 officers) and an increase of eight deaths compared with 2007 data (58 officers).
The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 40 years old.
- The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 13 years at the times of the fatal incidents.
- Of the 66 officers, 64 were male, and two were female.
- Sixty-one of the officers were white, four were black/African-American, and one was Asian/Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander.
At the time the 66 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed:
- 17 were ambushed (entrapment/premeditation);
- 13 were answering disturbance calls (seven were domestic disturbance calls);
- nine were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances;
- six were engaged in tactical situations;
- five were performing investigative activities (such as surveillances, searches, or interviews);
- four were conducting traffic pursuits/stops;
- three were investigating drug-related matters;
- three were victims of unprovoked attacks;
- one was answering a burglary in progress call or pursuing a burglary suspect(s);
- one was answering a robbery in progress call or pursuing a robbery suspect(s); and
- four were attempting other arrests.
- Offenders used firearms to kill 62 of the 66 victim officers.
- Of these 62 officers, 37 were slain with handguns, 24 with rifles, and one with a shotgun.
- Four officers were killed with vehicles used as weapons.
Thirty of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 17 in the West, 13 in the Midwest, four in the Northeast, and two in Puerto Rico.
- Law enforcement agencies identified 59 alleged assailants in connection with the felonious line-of-duty deaths.
- Forty-five of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 14 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the times of the felonious incidents.
- Fifty-two law enforcement officers were killed accidentally while performing their duties in 2016.
- The majority (26 officers) were killed in automobile accidents.
- The number of accidental line-of-duty deaths increased by seven when compared with the 45 officers who were accidentally killed in 2015.
- The average age of the officers who were accidentally killed was 38 years old; the average number of years the victim officers had served in law enforcement was 11.
- Of the 52 officers accidentally killed, 50 were male, and two were female.
- Forty of the officers were white, nine were black/African-American, and race was not reported for three of the officers.
Of the 52 officers accidentally killed:
- 26 died as a result of automobile accidents;
- 12 were struck by vehicles;
- seven officers died due to motorcycle accidents;
- three were accidentally shot;
- two officers drowned;
- one died in an aircraft accident; and
- one officer died in another type of duty-related accident.
Use of Seatbelts
- Use of seatbelts was reported for 21 of the 26 officers killed in automobile accidents.
- Of these 21 officers, 10 were wearing seatbelts, and 11 were not wearing seatbelts at the times of the accidents.
- Of the 11 victim officers who were fatally injured in automobile accidents and were not wearing seatbelts, two were seated in parked motor vehicles at the times of the accidents.
Twenty-four of the accidental deaths occurred in the South, 12 in the Midwest, nine in the West, five in the Northeast, and two in Puerto Rico.
- In 2016, of the 57,180 officers assaulted while performing their duties, 28.9 percent were injured.
- The largest percentage of victim officers (32.2 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls.
- Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 78.0 percent of the incidents, firearms in 4.2 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.9 percent of the incidents.
- Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 16.0 percent of assaults.
Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2016 is available exclusively on the FBI’s website at https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2016.
The LEOKA Program uses the data it collects to provide data-driven officer safety training to law enforcement officers around the country.
Of the 66 officers who were killed in criminal incidents:
The average age was 40 years old, with an average of 13 years of law enforcement experience.
Sixty-four of the officers feloniously killed were men, and two were women.
Nearly all of the officers were killed by firearms—62 out of 66. Of the 62 officers killed by firearms, 51 were wearing body armor at the time they were killed.
Four officers were killed intentionally with vehicles.
The most common categories of circumstance surrounding officers’ line-of-duty deaths were ambushes (17), followed by answering disturbance calls (13), and investigating suspicious people or circumstances (nine).
(For more information on these incidents, see the summaries section of the report.)
Of the 52 officers who were killed in accidents:
The average age was 38 years old, with an average of 11 years of law enforcement experience.
Fifty of the officers accidentally killed were men, and two were women.
Half of the law enforcement officers killed accidentally in 2016 were killed in auto accidents—26 of the 52. Additionally, 12 were struck by vehicles, and seven were killed in motorcycle accidents.
The annual LEOKA report also contains a separate section on federal law enforcement officers who were killed or assaulted in the line of duty last year.
According to the 2016 federal data, one federal law enforcement officer was killed and 324 were injured.
LEOKA Resources Page
Although LEOKA is an annual report released each October, the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division regularly updates the statistics on its LEOKA Resources Page.
Visit the page for updated preliminary statistics on law enforcement officer line-of-duty deaths, including the breakdown of accidental and felonious deaths.
The LEOKA Resources page also features links to previous LEOKA annual reports and information on law enforcement safety training.