2021 saw the highest total line-of-duty police officer deaths since 1930, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
“Our nation needs to pause right now over these numbers,” National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto said.
The primary cause of that increase is Covid-19. There were about 300 fatalities because of Covid-19…A 65% increase from 2020.
“The officers are putting themselves at risk whether that’s in front of a bullet or in front of a virus,” West Police Chief Darryl Barton said.
The West Police Department lost one of their own to Covid-19 in 2021.
“It’s important to remember and acknowledge the sacrifices they made no matter what the circumstances were,” Barton said.
Ferranto says determining whether the Covid death was line of duty is harder to determine than other cases.
“It involves a lot of medical review, so we’re doing a lot of digging around timing and symptoms and death certificate,” Ferranto said.
Fifty-eight of those deaths are traffic related which is a 38% increase from last year when the number was at 42.
Struck-by fatalities have increased by 93% over last year
“27 law enforcement officers, men and women, did not go home in 2021 because of struck by fatalities,” Ferranto said. “And most of all of those could have been avoided.”
Eighty-four officers died from felonious assaults, 61 of those by firearms.
The state with the most law enforcement fatalities is Texas with 84.
“When an officer is lost, it’s not just the agency, it’s law enforcement as a whole,” Barton said. “When we all come together and support each other that’s really important.”
Ferranto says these men and women are incredible heroes.
“They wake up every morning, they go to work and they put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe.”
Chief Barton says he is blessed to be apart of the community, and a thank you goes a long way.
“Just lift them up a little bit,” Barton said.