Thirty-three law enforcement officers died in the line of duty as a result of shootings in the first half of this year, representing an 18% increase in firearms-related fatalities, compared with the first six months of 2021, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Yet, so far in 2022, overall fatalities among law enforcement officers have fallen by roughly 31%, following last year’s record number of line-of-duty deaths. Dropping from the 188 officers killed during the same period last year, a new report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found the decline is “almost entirely related to a reduction in Covid-19 deaths.”
William Alexander, Executive Director of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and former commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department summed up the mid-year report as a “mixed bag.”
“It’s certainly optimistic in terms of the reduction of Covid-19 related deaths. On that front, we’ve seen a 45% decrease from 98 line-of-duty deaths, this time last year,” Alexander told CBS News. “We’re hopeful that through some combination of lower infection rates and, more likely than not, increased uptake on vaccines, that number will continue to trend downward.”
Fifty-four officers died “as a result of contracting the disease while executing official duties,” as of June 30, 2022, according to the report. Although COVID-19 related deaths among law enforcement officers have dipped this year by nearly half, Covid-19 remains the number one cause of law enforcement deaths.
Thursday’s report also warns of a “marked increase” in traffic-related crashes so far this year. In the first six months of 2022, 20 officers have died due to traffic-related crashes – a 25% uptick compared to the same time span last year. Fatalities include single-vehicle accidents, vehicle collisions, and motorcycle crashes while working along roadways.