By Dave Workman
Last year saw an eight percent decline in the number of police officers killed in the line of duty, and that includes a whopping 33 percent decline in the number of cops who died from gunshot wounds, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, an independent organization that tracks law enforcement fatalities.
Last year, according to preliminary data compiled by NLEOMF, 33 officers died from firearms-related injuries, down from the 49 who were killed in 2012. The organization said “ambush attacks” were the leading circumstances of those fatal shootings, with seven officers murdered in ambushes.
Significantly, only six of the officers slain last year were killed with rifles of any kind. Two were killed with shotgun blasts. Nineteen were killed with handguns.
The greatest cause of on-the-job fatalities were traffic-related, the organization reported. Last year, 46 officers died in traffic incidents, including 31 killed in crashes, another 11 who were struck and killed outside of their vehicles and four who died in motorcycle crashes.
According to The Guardian, last year’s fatalities in law enforcement was at a 54-year low. A total of 111 police officers died in 2013 on the job, the lowest number since 1959, when 110 cops died while on duty.
Another publication, Shotgun News, suggested that several factors contributed to the decline in law enforcement deaths including better bullet-resistant protective equipment, better communications, improved training and tactics, better emergency medicine, increased incarceration changes in demographics in crime-prone age groups and the use of specialized units to handle confrontations with armed suspects.
Not on the list: Gun control.
Early last year, a poll among active duty and retired law enforcement suggested that the overwhelming majority of street cops do not support gun control measures, nor do they believe that such things as limits on magazine capacity or bans on semi-auto firearms will result in lower crime or improved officer safety.