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Lowest Number of U.S. Police Deaths in 35 Years.

Preliminary statistics released by the FBI indicate that 42 law enforcement officers lost their lives due to criminal action in 1999, the lowest recorded figure in more than 35 years. The total shows a decrease of 19 officer deaths compared with the 1998 annual count of 61 and 29 fewer deaths than occurred in 1997. Thirty-nine separate incidents account for the 42 officer deaths in 1999. Law enforcement agencies have cleared 38 of these incidents by arrest or exception means; 2 suspects remain at large.

Firearms continue as the weapon most frequently used to kill officers. Suspects employed handguns in 25 slayings, rifles in 11, and shotguns in 5. The remaining officer was killed with a vehicle. At the time of their deaths, 27 officers were wearing body armor. Five of the 42 officers were killed with their own weapons.

Twelve officers lost their lives during arrest situations: 6 serving arrest warrants; 3 attempting to prevent robberies or apprehend robbery suspects; 2 investigating drug-related situations; and 1 attempting to apprehend a burglary suspect. Eight officers were killed enforcing traffic laws, 7 investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, 7 answering disturbance calls, 6 encountering ambush situations, and 2 handling prisoners.

The FBI also released preliminary statistics on the number of officers accidentally killed in the performance of their duties. In 1999, 63 officers lost their lives in accidents. This total represents a decrease of 18 compared with the 81 accidental deaths that occurred in 1998.

For the complete preliminary annual Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted press release, access the FBI's Internet site at
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Title Annotation:preliminary statistics released by FBI
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2000
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Next Article:Community Education and Crime Prevention: Confronting Foreground and Background Causes of Criminal Behavior.

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