Officers Accidentally Killed

Download Printable Document

This page provides information regarding accidental line-of-duty deaths of duly sworn city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers who met the same criteria as officers who were feloniously killed.

Overview

  • In 2008, 68 law enforcement officers from 66 agencies died as the result of accidents that occurred in the line of duty.
  • The accidental deaths occurred in 25 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. California was the state with the most officers accidentally killed (11).
  • The greatest number of officers accidentally killed (32) were employed by city police departments. Nineteen were employed by county agencies, 13 were employed by state agencies, and 1 was employed by a federal agency. Two officers accidentally killed were employed in Puerto Rico, and 1 was employed in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

More information about these topics (including annual totals from 1999 to 2008) is provided in Tables 48, 49, 59, 60, and 64.

Victim profile

Of the 68 officers who died in 2008 due to accidents in the line of duty:

  • Their average age was 38 years.
  • Their average length of law enforcement service was 11 years.
  • 59 were white, 7 were black, and 1 was Asian/Pacific Islander. Race was not reported for 1 of the victim officers.

More information about these topics is provided in Tables 53, 54, 55, 57, and 58.

Circumstances

  • Of the 68 officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2008, 39 died as a result of automobile accidents. Thirteen officers were struck by vehicles, 6 officers died in motorcycle accidents, 2 died in aircraft accidents, and 5 officers died during other types of accidents.
  • Of the 13 officers struck by vehicles, 12 were directing traffic or assisting motorists, and 1 officer was executing a traffic stop or roadblock.
  • Two officers were shot as a result of crossfire or other firearm mishap.

More information about this topic (including breakdowns of the types of circumstances in which accidental deaths occurred) is provided in Tables 61, 62, 63, and 64.

Assignments

  • Thirty-eight of the 68 officers accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2008 were alone at the time of the accident.
  • Twenty-seven officers had assistance when their fatal accidents occurred.
  • Of the 68 officers accidentally killed in 2008, 3 were off duty.

More information about this topic is included in Tables 59 and 62.

Regional and outlying area breakdowns

Of the 68 officers who were accidentally killed in the line of duty in 2008:

  • 32 officers were employed by law enforcement agencies in the South.
  • 17 officers were employed by agencies in the West.
  • 11 officers were employed by agencies in the Northeast.
  • 5 officers were employed by agencies in the Midwest.
  • 2 officers were employed by agencies in Puerto Rico.
  • 1 officer was employed by an agency in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

More information about this topic (including annual totals from 1999 to 2008) is provided in Table 48.

Months, days, and times of incidents

Months

  • In 2008, the greatest number of accidents resulting in the deaths of law enforcement officers (9 in each month) occurred in September, October, and November.
  • During April 2008, no officers died in line-of-duty accidents.

Days

  • More officers (12) died as a result of accidents in the line of duty on Monday than on any other day of the week.
  • The fewest fatal accidents (7) occurred on Wednesday.

Times

  • More officers (36) were fatally injured in accidents that occurred between the hours of 12:01 p.m. and midnight.
  • 32 officers were killed in accidents occurring from 12:01 a.m. to noon.

More information about these topics (including annual totals from 1999 to 2008) is provided in Tables 50, 51, and 52.