New Data Show Fatal Shootings of Police Fell During 'War on Cops'

The number of gun-related officer deaths was not unusually high this year or last.



A year ago, an Investor's Business Daily editorial headlined "War on Cops Is a Threat to All" declared that "deadly attacks against police have exploded across the country, the outcome of leftist anti-police protests." Since then, according to the Nexis news database, IBD  has mentioned this "war on cops" at least 32 times, while the phrase has appeared in the New York Post more than 80 times, most recently in an October 22 story reporting that "outrage over the latest killing of a police officer has caused both the family of the slain officer and even one of the city's liberal lawmakers to question whether limits on stop-and-frisk have emboldened criminals to declare war on cops." But according to a preliminary report published yesterday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), the number of cops fatally shot in the line of duty fell by 14 percent this year, from 49 to 42.

That number did rise in 2014, from 33 to 49, but the 2013 total was unusually low. There were fewer firearm fatalities last year than in all but two years of the last decade. The annual average for 2005 through 2014 was 54.  Despite the alleged war on cops, the number of fatally shot officers was not unusually high in 2014 or 2015.

Although total officer fatalities rose this year (from 119 to 124), that was due mainly to an increase in deaths from traffic accidents, which since 2000 have claimed more officers' lives than gunshot wounds have. "Firearms-related fatalities peaked in 1973, when 156 officers were shot and killed," the NLEOMF reports. "Since then, the average number of officers killed has decreased from 127 per year in the 1970s to 57 per year in the 2000s. The 42 firearms-related fatalities in 2015 are 26 percent lower than the average of 57 per year for the decade spanning 2000-2009."

The peak year for gun-related officer deaths during the last decade was 2011, when there were 73. That year the phrase "war on cops" appeared in the newspaper and wire service articles collected by Nexis 10 times, compared to 231 times this year, when the number of shootings was 42 percent lower.

[Thanks to CharlesWT for the tip.]

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  1. Let us not sully the War on Cops with mere facts, Mr Sullum



      1. If it might save even one officer's life, aren't we obligated to try?

        /s (in case it wasn't obvious)

        1. ^THIS^ is what some guy actually believes!!!

      2. Not to get all Capt Obvious, but this is the shit that I hear from O'Reilly and Hannity. And the frustrating thing about them, is that I tend to agree with them on say 60-70% on main issues. And they will talk a good game about liberty. And then turn around and tell us to escalate the war on heroin (instead of say, making needles NOT need a prescription, and lets make it easier to prescribe hydrocodone and oxy, so that while people will abuse them, they are at least easier to control for quality and dosage), legalizing pot will lead to the apocalypse and how cops are literally dying in the street everyday to keep us safe.

        But, I still hold out hope that there are many Team Red folks who have some of the basic premises in place, they just need to try to follow their logic to these positions. As opposed to Team Blue who don't even have the same premises (equality vs. liberty etc.)

        1. The only person on the right I still listen to is Rush, and I can apply most of your statement to him. His copsucking is horrendous, though I don't know where he stands these days on the WoD.

          From my past experience, Hannity just repeats talking points and has nothing original or insightful to say. O'Reilly is a faux populist buffoon trying to sell books.

          1. I tend to agree with you. I have never found Hannity particularly entertaining. Rush can be fun to listen to, even when I disagree with him. And you are spot on about O'Reilly. The fight between he and George Will is a perfect example. In an argument between O'Reilly and Will, always bet on Will.

  2. ...an increase in deaths from traffic accidents, which since 2000 have claimed more officers' lives than gunshot wounds have.

    What have civilians been employing in their War on Cops to cause this? It was probably IED's, right?

    1. Gravity, fixed objects, physics, stuff like that.

  3. Whenever I see someone, usually male and mid twenties to forty years old, brazenly driving aggressively at break-neck speeds the words 'off duty cop' instantly pop in my head.

    Twice in the last month I have seen cops pulled over onto the shoulder, lights on, while they stood on the inside of the white line paying no attention to the traffic whatsoever.

    1. Often the words "on duty cop" also pop into my head.

      Honestly, pretty much every time I see an on duty cop they are committing some moving violation. Rolling through stop signs, illegal U/left turns, not signalling lane changes or turns, and, most common of all, speeding and following too closely. It's like their default road rage setting is 8 out of 10.

      1. Who is going to ticket a cop? A cop?

        1. We need police police to police the police.... and police police police to police the police police... and... now the word "police" looks weird.

          1. We need the government to fear the people once again. Only the people can police the police.

    2. This actually reminds me of an incident that happened a couple of years ago in my own neighborhood. It's nice little neighborhood with no through streets, 25 mph limits everywhere. I'm driving towards one of the exits at 25 mph when this crappy station wagon flies up behind me and starts tailgating me. When I pull up to the next stop sign to make a left he actually passes me on my left in the middle of the intersection. Of course, I check out his license plate as he speeds away and what kind of plate is it? "Fraternal Order of Police".

      1. I look for that black sticker with the blue line running horizontally across the middle. It translates to "Pig on board."

  4. But in this age of The Offencerati, the War on Cops is figurative and psychic, not literal and physical. They need their safe spaces too. Are cops not human, subject to emotional battering? Do they not need to return to their homes safe spaces with their teddy bears families?

      1. Pretty much.

  5. At least the graph made it home safely to its family.

    1. Ross Perot would have used more color.

      1. +2 ears

      2. +1 big Giant Sucking Sound

  6. Each side invents their own national crisis. In reality, little has changed either in the number of cops killed or the number of people killed by cops.

    And these issues are local issues. The idea that there ought to be uniform rules on the use of deadly force in Cleveland and in Short Hills is utterly irrational.

    Finally, if you want self defense to be a realistic option, you better hope that the rules on the use of deadly force aren't strengthened significantly.

    1. ... little has changed either in the number of cops killed or the number of people killed by cops.

      Hard to say, since there is no data source for the latter.

      1. This website is trying to keep track. But they only have data going back to 2013, so it may be a few years before we can start looking at trends.

        1. Sadly, it's not comprehensive, either - the feds don't keep track, and a lot of local PDs do not make their records public.

      2. Also, quite a bit has changed in the number of cops killed -- the number is now 4 times lower from the levels it was at in the 1970s, which is all the more remarkable considering population growth in that time period.

        1. Pretty much the same rate of decline for us civilians too.

    2. Finally, if you want self defense to be a realistic option, you better hope that the rules on the use of deadly force aren't strengthened significantly.

      Actually, what most of us want is for the same rules that currently apply to ordinary citizens should also apply to cops.

      1. What makes you think they don't? There are some differences based on the fact that cold actively seek out deadly situations as part of their job, but otherwise, the rules seem pretty similar.

        1. You don't... visit... this site... much... do you?

  7. Also worth pointing out: it doesn't say what percentage of "firearms-related fatalities" were due to accidents. In point of fact, the 4th graph in the article "Leading Circumstances of Fatal Shootings" lists traffic stops (7), ambush (6), disturbance (5), suspicious persons (5), and attempt arrest (4). You may notice that those numbers do not add up to the total number of firearms-related fatalities (42).

    1. "he number of cops fatally shot in the line of duty"

      I was wondering if they managed to fit suicides into this, but was too lazy to investigate.

      1. The summary doesn't get that specific, but like I said, the "Leading Circumstances of Fatal Shootings" doesn't cover 1/3 of the firearms-related fatalities. I was thinking more of things like the retard who shot himself teaching a gun safety class, or panic-fire accidents where officers catch each other in their own crossfire.

        1. lies, damn lies and statistics

  8. "limits on stop-and-frisk have emboldened criminals to declare war on cops"

    Yes, that's it. Unconstitutionally harrasing the citizens like some fucking gestapo asshole is definately the best answer to people hating cops. And maybe if cops just randomly hung a black man on a street post in the middle if the hood every once in a while these "thugs" would get the message. Bizarro world logic wins again. I can't even... Fuck the goverment.

  9. Lemmy is still dead.

  10. But it feels like more cops were shot. You people know statistics are for fags, right?

    1. Shit's all fucked up.

      1. Ouch...my balls!

    2. Is that why bar graphs are more popular than pie charts?

  11. Don't know if this is the place for this, but fuck it:

    What we need are common sense uber / sex trafficking / alcohol laws...

    "Cleanthony Early was reportedly shot in the leg after leaving a Queens' strip club early-Wednesday morning.
    Early was reportedly a mile away from the strip club in his Uber car when three cars boxed in the vehicle, and four to six individuals wearing ski masks proceeded to rob Early of his jewelry and gold caps on his teeth. He was shot once in the knee, and was then rushed to Elmhurst Hospital. He is reportedly in stable condition, and the injury is not life threatening."


    1. Not that I don't feel bad for the guy but a fool and his money are soon parted.

    2. Ladies and Gentleman, you;re NY Knicks!

      "He is the second Knicks player targeted in the past month ? his teammate Derrick Williams was partying with two women before more than $600,000 worth of jewelry disappeared from his apartment."

  12. Saw this reported on Fox news, amazingly. Was impressed that they would actually talk about it. Then they listed the top three causes of death for cops. Shooting, traffic accidents and ....(wait for it).... HEART ATTACKS!! Why heart attacks? Because cops are out of shape pieces of fat shit? No, of course not. Because of the stress of the job, dont'cha know...

    And people wonder why no one could give a flying fuck of trust in the media...

  13. There is a war on cops. But it's not being fought with violence towards them. It's a war which is demanding accountability, de-escalation, better training, oversight, and equal protection & justice under the law for all. It's being fought via facts, education, speech, protest, non-compliance, & legislation.

  14. "whether limits on stop-and-frisk have emboldened criminals to declare war on cops."

    Yeah, that makes sense. "They've stopped oppressing us!! Now it's time for us to launch our war against them!! Mwahahahaha!!"

  15. If you look at the data on the Officer Down Memorial Page, they count 39 gunfire deaths and 129 deaths overall. They count in those numbers 2 K9 officers killed by gunfire and 26 K9s overall killed, the plurality of those due to heat exhaustion, being left in the car on a hot day. Or as cops come to say, the "air conditioning unit failed in the vehicle". The 129 killed according to ODMP also include 6 Air Force investigators killed by a terrorist bomb in Afghanistan on December 21, 2015. Definitely look into the numbers because I know ODMP is fluffing the numbers.

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