After a two year spike, there’s been a 23% decline in law enforcement officer deaths in the line of duty this year, but Pennsylvania saw its number increase by one to 5, putting it among the top states.
Firearms related deaths are down 31% according to Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. He says traffic related fatalities are down 14%.
Floyd believes two factors are playing a role in the reductions. He says the United States Attorney General has made law enforcement safety one of his top priorities. He says he has also seen the same hold true at the state and local levels, where law enforcement safety has grown in significance.
Floyd also believes increased use of body armor is making a difference. He says more than 31 hundred officers have been documented to have been saved by bullet resistant vests in the last 25 years.
Preliminary figures show 127 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States through mid-December of 2012.
The five Pennsylvania officers who died in the line of duty were: Patrolman Avery Freeman of the Chester Police Department, who died from complications of surgery in April for an injury he suffered while on duty. Officer Brian Lorenzo of the Philadelphia Police Department was struck head-on by a wrong way driver in July. Officer Moses Walker Junior of the Philadelphia Police Department was shot while trying to stop two men from robbing him shortly after he finished his shift in August. Officer Bradley Fox of the Plymouth Township Police Department was shot during a foot pursuit of a suspect in September. State Trooper Blake Coble was killed when his patrol car was hit by a tractor trailer in October.