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Police Officer Memorial

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Elmer Sundby
Robert Bolton

Law Enforcement Facts

  • There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States, which is the highest figure ever. About 12 % of those are female.
  • In 2008, there were an estimated 4.9 million violent crimes committed in the United States, as well as an estimated 16.3 million property crimes (according to the National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics). Violent and property crime rates in 2008 remain at the lowest levels recorded since 1973, the first year that such data were collected. The rate of every major violent and property crime measured by BJS fell between 1999 and 2008. The overall violent crime rate fell 41 percent and the property crime rate declined by 32 percent during the last 10 years.
  • Crime fighting has taken its toll. Since the first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more than 18,600 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. Currently, there are 18,661 names engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
  • A total of 1,640 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past 10 years, an average of one death every 53 hours or 167 per year. There were 133 law enforcement officers killed in 2008, the lowest annual total since 1960.
  • On average, more than 60,000 law enforcement officers are assaulted each year, resulting in over 16,000 injuries.
  • The 1970s were the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,276 officers died, or an average of 228 each year. The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 282 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 160 per year.
  • The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001 when 72 officers were killed while responding to the terrorist attacks on America.
  • New York City has lost more officers in the line of duty than any other department, with 692 deaths. Texas has lost 1,504 officers more than any other state. The state with the fewest death is Vermont, with 19.
  • There are 981 federal officers listed on the Memorial, as well as 551 correctional officers and 30 military law enforcement officers.
  • There are 236 female officers listed on the Memorial, including 13 female officers killed in 2008, one of the highest numbers in history.
  • During the past ten years, more officers were killed feloniously on Friday than any other day of the week. The fewest number of felonies fatalities occurred on Sunday. Over the past decade, more officers were killed between 8:01 pm and 10:00 pm than during any other two-hour period.
  • Source: National Law Enforcement Officers - Memorial Fund: Law Enforcement Facts