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Killed in the Line of Duty: A Study of Selected Felonious Killings of Law Enforcement Officers

NCJ Number
Date Published
66 pages
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports Section selected and analyzed 51 incidents of police officer killings in order to evaluate the psychology of the offender, the behavior of the police officer, and circumstances in which the police officer lost his or her life.
The study was conducted over a 3-year period; the 51 incidents resulted in the death of 54 police officers and involved 50 offenders. Results demonstrated that, while no single offender profile could be established, most killers of police officers had been diagnosed as having some type of personality disorder. Behavioral descriptors of victims were frequently similar in that they were good-natured and more conservative than their fellow officers in the use of physical force. The incidents themselves revealed that killings were often facilitated by some type of procedural miscue (e.g., improper approach to a vehicle). Type of assignment, circumstances at the scene of an encounter, weapons involved, and the environment in which events occurred all played a role in the preponderance of police officer deaths in the South. The report presents extensive information on the victims, offenders, and incidents studied. It identifies personality types of offenders, provides guidance on how individuals of a given personality type interact with authority figures, and offers approaches to interrogation. The report also points out specific areas where law enforcement training and procedures may be improved. Appendixes contain the study methodology and a description of personality types. 65 references, 5 tables, and 12 figures