Seventy-two law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty during 2011, according to a recent press release from the FBI. The notice released preliminary statistics from a final study which will be published during the fall.
The total number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 was 56 — 16 fewer than 2011.
By region, the FBI reports that 29 officers were killed in the South, 21 in the Midwest, 10 in the West and another 10 in the Northeast, along with another two officers killed in Puerto Rico.
According to the report: "Of these 72 felonious deaths, 19 officers were killed during ambushes (14 during unprovoked attacks and five due to entrapment/premeditation situations); five were slain while investigating suspicious persons or circumstances; 11 were killed during traffic pursuits/stops; five of the fallen officers interrupted robberies in progress or were pursuing robbery suspects; and four died while responding to disturbance calls (one being a domestic disturbance)."
Six officers were killed while working on tactical situations, one died while conducting investigative activities, one died while handling or transporting a prisoner, and 26 were killed while attempting other arrests.
Offenders used firearms in 63 of the 72 felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in 2011, the report states. Fifty officers were killed with handguns; seven with rifles; and six with shotguns. Criminals used vehicles to kill six officers; weapons such as hands, fists, and feet to kill two officers; and a knife or cutting instrument to kill one officer.
Forty-nine officers were wearing body armor at the time of their deaths. Seventeen victims fired their own weapons; four were killed with their own weapons; and seven had their service weapons stolen.
These deaths occurred within 68 separate incidents. Of these, 67 were cleared by arrest or exceptional means.
Apart from the felonious killings, 50 officers were killed in accidents — a decrease from 2010 by 22 officers.