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Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2001

Washington, D.C. December 02, 2002
  • FBI National Press Office (202) 324-3691

According to preliminary statistics released today by the FBI, 140 of the nation’s law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2001. This number includes the 71 officers killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The officers killed as a result of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City include 37 officers with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, 23 with the New York Police Department, 5 with the New York Office of Tax Enforcement, 3 with the State of New York Unified Court System, 1 fire marshal with the New York City Fire Department, 1 agent with the U. S. Secret Service, and 1 agent with the FBI. These data are not included in the following preliminary statistics.

Sixty-nine officers were killed in incidents not related to the events of September 11. Geographically, 28 of the 69 officers were killed in the South, 18 in the West, 14 in the Midwest, and 3 in the Northeast. Six officers were slain in Puerto Rico.

By circumstance, 10 officers were murdered in 2001 while answering domestic disturbance calls, and 10 were killed during traffic pursuits and stops. Eight officers were slain investigating drug-related matters, 8 attempting other arrests or serving arrest warrants, 8 investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, and 7 officers were killed in ambush situations (unprovoked attacks). Another 5 officers were murdered while answering disturbance calls (bar fights, person with firearm, etc.), 4 during robberies in progress or pursuing robbery suspects, 3 in ambush situations (entrapment and premeditation), 2 during burglaries in progress or pursuing burglary suspects, 2 while handling, transporting, or custody of prisoners, and 2 were killed while handling mentally deranged persons.

Sixty officers were killed in 2001 with firearms. Of these 60 officers, 45 were slain with handguns, 11 with rifles, and 4 with shotguns. Seven officers were killed with vehicles, one officer was murdered with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.), and 1 was killed with a blunt object.

At the time they were slain, 39 officers were wearing body armor. Sixteen officers attempted to use their weapons by unsnapping the holsters, drawing the weapons, or performing an action to indicate an attempt to use the weapons but were unable to fire. Twelve of the officers fired their own weapons during the incident, and 7 officers’ weapons were stolen (taken from the scene). Three officers were killed with their own weapons.

The 69 officers, 18 more than were killed in 2000, were slain in 65 separate incidents in 2001. Sixty-one of the 65 incidents have been cleared by arrest or exceptional means. Six suspects remain at large in connection with the remaining 4 incidents.

In addition to the officers feloniously slain in the line of duty, 77 officers were killed accidentally in 2001 in the performance of their duties. This death total is 7 fewer than the 84 officers accidentally killed during the previous year.

Final statistics and complete details will be available in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2001 scheduled to be released this fall.