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Monday, January 3, 2005

How Many Police Officers Killed in the line of duty in 2003?

While trying to wrap up the linkage for the previous post "Dangerous Professions" - stumbled across the conflicting reports about the number of law enforcement officers that were killed in the line of duty in 2003. The number of law enforcement fatalities for 2003 reported by the BLS, FBI, NLEOMF, and MSNBC were all different.


• The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Sept. 22, 2004-in one table-Table 3. Fatal occupational injuries by occupation and selected event or exposure, 2003:

Law enforcement workers...153 fatalities

on a second chart-Number and rate of fatal occupational injuries for selected occupations, 2003 BLS reported:
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers...128 fatalities...20.9 per 100,000 fatality rate

• The FBI report on Nov. 8 2004-"Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted in 2003":
Last year, 132 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty

• The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) report on Jan. 5, 2004-"OFFICERS LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER FATALITIES REACH 148 FOR 2003":
In the year 2003, 148 law enforcement officers across the nation were killed in the line of duty, representing the second year in a row that the number has been well below the decade-long average of 166 annual police deaths. The 142 male and six female officers who died worked in 38 of our nation's 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and one federal agency.

• MSNBC reported on Dec. 28, 2004 in the story-"154 police officers killed in line of duty in 2004":
The number of deaths this year was 6 percent higher than the 145 reported killed in 2003 but nearly equaled the 153 killed in 2002, according to the groups’ (NLEOMF) statistics.

The differences are perhaps due to whether Puerto Rico fatalities are counted and what exactly the definition of a "law enforcement officer" is versus a "police officer." Will attempt to shed further light on why the numbers are all different.

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