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Officer Safety on Our Roadways: What the Numbers Say About Saving Lives

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 77 Issue: 7 Dated: July 2010 Pages: 28-31
Craig W. Floyd; Kevin P. Morison
Date Published
July 2010
4 pages
This article examines efforts to reduce the number of traffic-related law enforcement deaths.
Current efforts to reduce the number of traffic-related law enforcement deaths include: the International Association of Chiefs of Police's (IACP's) Safe Shield Program to raise awareness among law enforcement for the adoption of a zero-tolerance culture for officer deaths; IACP's efforts to expose officers to the dangers posed by other vehicles when an officer is outside the vehicle; increasing traffic safety information and awareness among law enforcement trainers; and an initiative begun in California to identify factors that contribute to law enforcement roadway deaths and to recommend improvements to reduce injuries. Much of the data used in these initiatives is collected by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and maintained in a database that contains information on more than 19,000 line-of-duty law enforcement deaths. Analysis of the data indicates that for the past 12 years, traffic-related incidents have been the leading cause of law enforcement deaths; from 1998 - 2009, 44 percent of officers died in traffic-related incidents compared to 35 percent killed by gunfire. The majority of the officer deaths in traffic-related incidents occurred in automobile crashes. Additional statistics are provided on specific aspects of traffic-related law enforcement deaths. A new initiative launched by NLEOMF is its Drive Safely campaign designed to increase public awareness of the dangers that police officers face on the Nation's roadways. 1 chart and 11 notes