This past Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released their report 2014 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted. Included in the report is a summary of the murder of Charleston County Deputy Sheriff Joseph J. Matuskovic who was killed in the line of duty in September of 2014.
According to statistics collected by the FBI, 96 law enforcement officers were killed in line-of-duty incidents in 2014. Of these, 51 law enforcement officers died as a result of felonious acts, and 45 officers died in accidents. In addition, 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults. The 2014 edition of Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, released today, includes comprehensive data tables about these incidents, brief narratives describing the fatal attacks, and narratives regarding selected assaults resulting in injury.
On May 29, 2014, a 42-year-old trooper with the New York State Police made a traffic stop on an interstate highway north of Binghamton. The veteran trooper parked behind the stopped car and approached the driver’s side window. In that fleeting moment, a truck traveling in the same direction at about 90 miles per hour suddenly swerved, sideswiping the car and striking the trooper, killing him instantly. The truck’s driver, a 60-year-old male with a criminal record, admitted after his capture that he intentionally veered to hit the trooper.
The chilling account of the unprovoked attack is just one of dozens of detailed narratives recounting the felonious deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States in 2014. The accounts are a central component of the latest Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) report, issued today, which shows that 96 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty last year—51 as a result of felonious acts and 45 in accidents. The annual report, released by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, also shows that 48,315 officers were victims of line-of-duty assaults in 2014.
In addition to the narratives, the online-only report includes comprehensive data tables that provide a closer look at the incidents: officer profiles, circumstances, weapons, locations, and identified suspects.
The felonious deaths of the 51 officers—all males—occurred in 24 states and Puerto Rico. The figure represents a significant increase over the number that occurred in 2013, when 27 officers were killed, but is lower than the numbers from 2009 (56 officers) and 2005 (55 officers).
Among the report’s findings:
- The average age of the officers who were feloniously killed was 39, and they had served for an average of 13 years.
- Offenders used firearms to kill 46 of the 51 victim officers: 33 were slain with handguns, 10 with rifles, and three with shotguns.
- 59 alleged assailants (54 of them males) were identified in connection with the line-of-duty deaths; 50 had prior criminal arrests.
- 39 of the officers feloniously killed with firearms were wearing body armor at the time of the incidents.
- The largest percentage (30.8) of assaults on police officers occurred while they were responding to disturbance calls.
The LEOKA publication contains data on duly-sworn city, university/college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers. The information in the report comes from various sources: the law enforcement agencies participating in the UCR Program, FBI field offices, and several non-profit organizations, such as the Concerns of Police Survivors and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In addition to collecting details about the critical aspects of fatal confrontations and assaults, the FBI’s LEOKA Program conducts extensive research on the data that eventually gets incorporated into officer safety awareness training the FBI provides for partner agencies.