Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report

Overall Law Enforcement line-of-duty deaths dropped by 61 percent when compared to 2021’s record number, however firearms-related deaths remain high, according to the 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.Logo NLEOMF Round fw

As of Dec. 31, 2022, 226 officers died in the line-of-duty compared to 586 in 2021. The dramatic decrease in fatalities is almost entirely attributable to declines in COVID-19 deaths, according to the report, issued by National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). Seventy officers died as a result of contracting COVID-19 while executing official duties in 2022 compared to 405 who died from the disease in 2021, an 83 percent decline.

However, COVID-19 remains the number one cause of law enforcement deaths in 2022, according to the report.

“While America’s law enforcement officers are still battling the deadly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant reduction in such overall deaths, likely attributed to reduced infection rates and the broad availability and use of vaccinations,” according to the report.

Firearms-related fatalities claimed 64 officers in 2022, which mirrors firearms-related deaths in 2021. This is a significant increase over the past decade. Both years represent a 21 percent rise in firearms fatalities compared to the average of 53 deaths from 2010-2020.

“While overall line-of-duty deaths are trending down,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto, “the continuing trend of greater-than-average firearms-related deaths continues to be a serious concern. Using and reporting on this data allows us to highlight the continuing cost of maintaining our democracy, regrettably measured in the lives of the many law enforcement professionals who sacrifice everything fulfilling their promise to serve and protect.”

The leading cause of firearms-related deaths were Officers who were ambushed (11), followed by: nine who were handling domestic disturbances; eight investigating suspicious circumstances or people; six attempting arrests; six killed during traffic enforcement; five while investigating disturbance calls; four during tactical encounters; four due to mistaken identity/training accidents; three responding to robberies or burglaries in progress; three serving civil papers; two serving felony warrants; two were killed in other circumstances; and one was handling/transporting prisoners.

Driven by COVID-19 related deaths, the ‘other’ category continues to represent the largest group of line-of-duty deaths with 106 in 2022. This category also includes long-term illnesses related to the September 11th terrorist attacks, and acute medical events brought on by extreme and/or stressful experiences while on-duty.

Traffic-related fatalities decreased 3 percent with 56 deaths in 2022 compared to 58 in 2021. Fatal automobile/ motorcycle crashes increased 29 percent over 2021, with 40 deaths in 2022. Officers struck outside of their patrol vehicle dropped 41 percent from 27 in 2021 to 16 in 2022.

Michigan lost one officer in the line-of-duty in 2022. Texas had the largest number of law enforcement officer fatalities in the U.S. with 33 line-of-duty deaths followed by: New York with 12 officer deaths; California and Georgia with 11 officer deaths each; Tennessee with 10 fatalities; and North Carolina, Alabama, and Florida with nine officer deaths per state.

Additional on-duty officer fatalities include: 11 federal officers, one military, and one tribal officer in 2022.

The statistics released in the annual report are based on preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and may not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2023.

Click here for the full 2022 End-of-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.