Report: 93% of homicides of law enforcement officers between 1996 and 2010 were committed with firearms

While occupational homicides continue to decline in the U.S., law enforcement remains one of the deadliest jobs in America. A new study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that 93 percent of homicides of law enforcement officers between 1996 and 2010 were committed with firearms. Among those homicides, 10 percent were committed using the officer's own service weapon. The findings, published May 30 by the journal BMJ Injury Prevention, could help develop new procedures to reduce risk to officers.

"Law enforcement officers across the U.S. are highly trained, yet it remains a dangerous and demanding profession," said study author, David Swedler, a PhD candidate with Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management and the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. "We owe it to our law enforcement professionals to make their jobs as safe as possible. By analyzing the circumstances of these homicides, we can improve training and procedures to reduce risk to officers."

According to the study, 796 officers were murdered on the job between 1996 and 2010, excluding the deaths of the 72 law enforcement officers killed during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Over 90 percent of these homicides of officers were committed using firearms, with short-barreled weapons being used 72 percent of the time. In 43 percent of incidents in which an officer was killed, the officer was working alone. In 58 percent of the incidents, the officer was wearing body armor for protection.

The most common encounter that resulted in homicide of an officer was response to a "disturbance call." In 29 percent of these cases, the assailant was waiting to ambush the officer. Eighteen percent of all response calls resulted in a "secondary ambush" of the officer after the initial encounter had begun. More than half (52 percent) of these "secondary ambush" encounters involved high-powered, long-barrel weapons. The highest rates of law enforcement homicide occurred in states in the southeastern United States. The lowest rates occurred in the New England states.

"This study allowed us to systematically explore the circumstances of these law enforcement officer fatalities, which can help develop targeted policies and practices to keep officers safe in the line of duty," said Keshia M. Pollack, PhD, MPH, author of the study, and associate professor of Health Policy and Management and director of the Occupational Injury Epidemiology and Prevention Training Program.

The analysis was based on crime statistics available to the public: the Law
Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) reports from the FBI.

"Occupational homicide of law enforcement officers in the U.S., 1996-2010" was written by David I. Swedler, Cassandra Kercher, Molly M. Simmons, and Keshia M. Pollack.

Source:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

Comments

  1. clark crimcops clark crimcops United States says:

    When this article opens with such a blatant misstatement of the truth as,  "While occupational homicides continue to decline in the U.S., law enforcement remains one of the deadliest jobs in America," what does that say about the rest of the information that awaits.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the following occupations are actually the  most dangerous.

    Fishermen--116 out of every 100,000 fishermen will lose their lives each year.
    Logging workers--91.9 every 100,000 loggers will lose their lives each year  
    Airplane pilots-- 70.6  every of 100,000 pilots lose their lives each year.
    Farmers--- 41.4I of every 100,000 farmers  will lose their lives each year
    Mining machine operators---38.7 of  every 100,000 miners  lose their lives each year.
    Roofers--32.4 of  every 100,000 Roofers will lose their lives each year
    Sanitation workers--29.8  of every 100,000 Sanitation Workers will lose their lives each year
    Truck drivers--21.8 of every 100,000 fishermen will lose their lives each year
    Industrial machine workers---20.3  of every 100,000 fishermen will lose their lives each year

    For comparison...

    Police officers--18.0  every 100,000 cops will lose their lives while one duty each year. The vast majority of which will lose their lives in avoidable car accidents, training accidents or as the result of illness.

    The most dangerous job in the country is actually more than SIX TIMES more deadly than working as a cop.

    It is irresponsible to continue to spread the fallacy that law enforcement officers are in constant danger. It leads to a heightened state of fear among officers which is the reason police shoot more and more unarmed citizens every year, while police fatalities plummet. It is also the reason that, in spite of better training and more range hours than the average citizens, a higher percentage of police shootings are based on "mistake of facts" than those among the general population.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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