There are approximately 740,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. About 10 percent of them are female.

In 1997, there were nearly 35 million crimes committed in the United States, an average of more than one crime every one second (according to the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics). That is the lowest level of crime in nearly 25 years. Violent crime rates have declined by 21 percent since they peaked in 1993, and non-violent crime rates dropped 22 percent since 1993.

Crime fighting has taken its toll. Since the first recorded police death in 1794, there have been more than 15,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

A total of 1,596 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the last 10 years, an average of one death every 54 hours or 160 per year. There were 156 police deaths in 1998, which represents a slight decrease from the 160 officers who died in 1997.

On average, more than 62,000 law enforcement officers are assaulted each year and some 21,000 are injured annually.

The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1974 when 271 officers were killed. The deadliest decade was the 1970s when a total of 2,215 officers died, or 222 each year. That figure has dropped dramatically in the 1990's to 160 per year.

The deadliest day in law enforcement history was November 24, 1917, when nine Milwaukee (WI) police officers were killed in a bomb blast at the Milwaukee South Station, and a 10th officer from the Columbus (OH) Police Department was shot and killed.

New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 540 deaths. California has lost 1,255 officers, more than any other state. The state with the fewest deaths is Vermont, with 15.

There are 828 federal officers on the Memorial, 338 correctional officers and 31 military law enforcement officers.

There are 139 female officers listed on the Memorial, only nine of whom were killed prior to 1970.

During the last 10 years, more officers were killed feloniously on Fridays than any other day of the week. The fewest number of felonious fatalities occurred on Sundays. More officers were killed between 10:00 p.m. and midnight than during any other two-hour period over the past decade.


Copyright © National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Inc. 1996-1999