Michigan Association of Police

Excerpted from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

Nationally, the number of law enforcement line-of-duty fatalities has plummeted by 66 percent in the first half of 2023 compared to the first six months of 2022, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) 2023 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report. 

From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2023, 52 federal, state, county, municipal, military, and campus officers died in the line of duty compared to 153 officers who died during the same time period in 2022, according to the 2023 mid-year report. While much of this decline is attributed to a significant reduction in COVID-19-related deaths, law enforcement line-of-duty deaths are down across the board.

“There is no good news in reporting the death of even a single police officer,” said NLEOMF Interim CEO Bill Alexander, “yet based on this preliminary data, we are cautiously optimistic that conditions may be improving for our law enforcement professionals who willingly put themselves at risk to serve and protect.”

Traffic-related fatalities fell dramatically by 63 percent with 11 deaths by mid-year 2023 compared to 30 during the same period last year. Two of those 11 officers were struck and killed deploying Tire Deflation Devices (TDD). Both officers worked for the same law enforcement agency, but were killed in separate incidents. Struck-by fatalities dropped 82 percent, from 11 in 2022 to two in 2023. Of the remaining 2023 mid-year traffic-related fatalities: five officers were killed in automobile crashes; three were involved single-vehicle crashes; and one died in a motorcycle crash.

Firearms-related deaths dropped by 24 percent with 25 officers shot and killed in the first half of 2023 compared to 33 officers in January through June 2022. Those 25 firearms fatalities include: six handling domestic disturbance calls; five investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; four killed during traffic enforcement; and three while investigating disturbance calls. Two officers died while attempting to make an arrest and two more responding to robberies/burglaries in-progress. One officer was killed during each of these circumstances: a tactical encounter, serving a felony warrant, and during an ambush.

The ‘Other’ category, which encompasses health-related and other line-of-duty fatalities, shows a stark decline from the 72 officers who succumbed to complications from COVID-19 in the first half of 2022. In total, there were 16 ‘Other’ deaths reported during the first half of this year. Only two officers from January through June 2023 were reported as having succumbed to complications from COVID-19. The 14 remaining other deaths involved: eight fatal medical events, two aircraft crashes, two officers falling to their deaths; one officer assisting in a fire incident, and one by drowning.

The state with the most law enforcement line-of-duty fatalities was Louisiana with six, followed by Wisconsin and Pennsylvania with four officer deaths each. California, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey and Oklahoma had three line-of-duty deaths each and two fatalities each were reported in Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Statistics in the mid-year report are based on preliminary data compiled by the NLEOMF and may not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2024.

Click here for a complete copy of the 2023 Mid-Year Preliminary Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report.