Attorney General Eric Holder chats with officers and guests after breaking ground on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Museum in Washington on October 14, 2010. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- During the past 12 months, 160 U.S. law enforcement officers died in the line of duty, a 37 percent jump from 2009, data indicate.
The 160 deaths of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel was a dramatic increase over the 117 officials who died last year, a 50-year low, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said in a release.
Fifty-nine officers were fatally shot during the past year, a 20 percent increase from the 49 killed by gunfire in 2009, the fund said Monday.
"A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don't think twice about killing a cop," fund Chairman Craig W. Floyd said.
Traffic-related incidents remained the top cause of death among our nation's law enforcement officers for the 13th straight year, the fund said, with 73 officers killed in traffic-related incidents this year, compared to 51 in 2009. Of the 73 deaths, 50 occurred during automobile crashes, 16 officers were struck and killed while outside of their own vehicles, six died in motorcycle crashes and one bike patrol officer was struck by a vehicle.
Nineteen officers died as a result of job-related illnesses, two were beaten, two drowned, two officers suffered fatal falls, two died in aircraft crashes and one officer died in a boating accident, the data indicated.
Texas led in the number of officer deaths with 18, followed by California with 11, Illinois with 10, Florida with nine and Georgia with seven, the fund said.
The two law enforcement agencies reporting the most deaths in 2010 were the California Highway Patrol and the Chicago Police Department, each with five.
Eleven of the officers killed served with federal law enforcement agencies. Six female officers died in 2010, compared to one in 2009.