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Officer LODDs Up 37 Percent in 2010
Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Updated: December 29th, 2010 11:49 AM CDT
BY KEVIN JOHNSON
The number of law officers killed in the line of duty across the United States jumped 37% this year, reversing two consecutive years of steep declines, according to a report released Monday by a national police advocacy group.
Fatal shootings jumped from 49 in 2009, to 59 in 2010, marking the second straight year in which gunfire deaths increased by at least 20%. Meanwhile, traffic-related deaths -- the leading cause of work-related death for police -- increased from 51 in 2009, to 73 this year, according to the report.
Craig Floyd, chairman of the memorial fund which closely tracks officer deaths, suggests the rise in fatalities represents "troubling signs" that officer layoffs and other public safety budget cutbacks due to the lagging economy are "putting officers at risk."
"The budget cutbacks mean less training and fewer available resources, like replacing cars when you need to," Floyd says. "Hopefully, these numbers will be a warning signal."
Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's largest police union, says there is no clear evidence that a reduction in force or resources is behind the spike in fatalities.
"A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America," Floyd says. "And they don't think twice about killing a cop."
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