The FBI publishes Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) each year to provide information about the officers who were killed, feloniously or accidentally, and those officers who were assaulted while performing their duties. Before reviewing the tables, charts, and narrative summaries presented in this publication, readers should be aware of certain features of the LEOKA data collection process that could affect their interpretation of the information. First, the data in the tables and charts reflect the number of victim officers, not the number of incidents or weapons used. Second, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program considers any part of the body that can be used as weapons (such as hands, fists, or feet) to be personal weapons and designates them as such in its data. Readers should also be aware that law enforcement agencies use different methodologies for collecting and reporting data about officers who were killed and those who were assaulted. As a result, the two databases, and therefore the tables derived from them, are not comparable. Finally, because the information in the tables of this book are updated each year, the FBI cautions readers against making comparisons between the data in this publication and those in prior editions of the publication.
Beginning in 1937, the FBI’s UCR Program collected and published statistics on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in its annual publication, Crime in the United States. Statistics regarding assaults on officers were added in 1960. In June 1971, the law enforcement conference, “Prevention of Police Killings,” resulted in a Presidential directive to increase the FBI’s involvement in preventing and investigating officers’ deaths. In response to this directive, the UCR Program expanded its collection of data to include more details about the incidents in which law enforcement officers were feloniously killed and assaulted.
Using this comprehensive set of data, the FBI began in 1972 to produce two reports annually, Law Enforcement Officers Killed Summary and the Analysis of Assaults on Federal Officers. These two reports were combined in 1982 to create the annual publication, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted.
The UCR Program’s information on law enforcement officers killed and assaulted serves not only as the basis of the annual LEOKA publication, but also as a rich source of data for those who study the problems of officer deaths and assaults. The law enforcement community in general and training centers specializing in law enforcement use the LEOKA publication as a tool to develop training initiatives that support officer safety. In addition, members of local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement organizations use this publication as part of their research, as do governmental offices, special interest groups, academe, and all who are concerned about the men and women who serve in law enforcement.
The deaths of the officers as a result of the attacks of September 11, 2001, are not included in the trend data in Sections I and III of this publication. Because of the unique nature of the data from this singular event, including these extreme values in rate or trend data would skew data for most analyses.