Press Release

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2003

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Fact Sheet For Law Enforcement Officers Killed And Assaulted, 2002

Uniform Crime Reporting Program Releases LEOKA Statistics for 2002

Washington, DC -- Fifty-six law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2002 according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA), 2002, released today. The number of officers killed has decreased 25.0 percent from the 2001 number, when 70 officers were killed.


An analysis of data by circumstance showed that fifteen of the victim officers were killed in ambush situations, 10 were slain in traffic pursuits or stops, and 10 were killed during arrest situations. Nine of the officers were responding to disturbance calls, and 8 were investigating suspicious persons or circumstances. Mentally deranged assailants murdered 4 officers.


Firearms were the weapons used to kill the majority of the victim officers. Of the 51 officers slain with firearms, 38 were killed with handguns, 10 were slain with rifles, and 3 were killed with shotguns. Four of the victim officers were killed with their own weapons. Four officers were struck and killed with motor vehicles, and 1 officer was slain with a knife or cutting instrument.


A review of the data by region showed that 25 officers were murdered in the South, 12 in the Midwest, 9 in the West, and 5 in the Northeast. Five officers were killed in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


An analysis of the data reported about the assailants showed that 61 known assailants were suspected of murdering the 56 victim officers in 53 incidents in 2002. Forty-five of the offenders have been arrested. Eight of the known assailants were justifiably killed by person(s) other than the victim officers, 4 committed suicide, 3 were killed by the victim officers during the fatal incidents, and 1 suspect remains at large.

Accidental Deaths

In addition to the officers feloniously killed, 77 officers were accidentally killed in the performance of their duties in 2002. This is one fewer than the number reported in 2001. Fifty-five officers were victims of automobile, motorcycle, or aircraft accidents. Twelve officers were struck by vehicles, 3 were accidentally shot, and 7 died in other types of accidents.


In 2002, while performing their duties, a total of 58,066 law enforcement officers were assaulted, and 16,494 suffered injuries as a result of these attacks. Assaults on officers were most often committed with personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.), used in 80.6 percent of the attacks. Other dangerous weapons were used in 14.3 percent of assaults on law enforcement officers, firearms in 3.3 percent, and knives or cutting instruments in 1.8 percent of assaults on officers.


The complete annual report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2002, is available on the FBI’s Internet site at <>.