Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2004

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

Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in 2003

Washington, D.C. -- According to preliminary statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 52 law enforcement officers across the Nation were feloniously killed in the line of duty in 2003. The number of slain officers is 4 fewer than the 56 officers killed in 2002.

Geographically, 29 officers were killed in the South, 12 in the West, 8 in the Midwest, and 3 in the Northeast.

By circumstance, 13 officers were killed during traffic pursuits/stops, 11 in arrest situations, 10 while responding to disturbance calls, 9 in ambush situations, 7 while investigating suspicious persons/circumstances, and 2 while handling and transporting prisoners.

A breakdown of the weapons involved in these slayings revealed that in 2003 firearms continued to be the weapon most frequently used in the killing of officers. Forty-five of the 52 officers were killed with a firearm. Of these 45 officers, 34 were killed with handguns, 10 with rifles, and 1 with a shotgun. Six officers were killed with vehicles, and 1 was slain with a police baton.

At the time they were slain, 35 officers were wearing body armor. Eleven of the 52 slain officers were killed with their own weapons. Eleven officers' weapons were stolen from the scene. Ten officers fired their weapons, and 9 officers attempted to fire their weapons during the 46 fatal incidents.

In addition to the officers feloniously killed in 2003, there were 81 separate incidents in which 82 law enforcement officers were accidently killed in the performance of their duties. This is 6 more than the 76 officers accidentally killed during the previous year.

The FBI will release final statistics and complete details in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program's publication Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2003, in the fall of this year.

This press release is available on the FBI's Internet site at