Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, 2002

As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence and disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all persons to liberty, equality, and justice. ..."

Excerpt from the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics

International Association of Chiefs of Police


The duty of serving our Nation as a law enforcement officer can be dangerous. The responsibilities that accompany the charge are vast: arresting suspects, investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, answering disturbance calls, performing traffic pursuits or stops, dealing with mentally deranged assailants, and supervising prisoners in custody, to name a few. Additionally, some officers become victims of ambush attacks simply because of their choice of profession. While serving in the line of duty, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2002. Another 77 officers died as the result of duty-related accidents, and at least 58,066 others were victims of some type of assault. Statistically, these numbers equate to the death of one officer every 66 hours and an assault on an officer every 9 minutes.

Though the information may be distressing, this report is an excellent resource for law enforcement. In addition to the narrative summaries of each of the incidents in which an officer died a felonious death in 2002, this publication provides several statistical tables regarding the time and circumstances surrounding the felonious killings, accidental deaths, and felonious assaults of the nation's law enforcement officers. Data about the types of weapons used in the commission of felonious murders and assaults of officers are also presented. The law enforcement community may use this information for many reasons, including:

To assist in the identification of potentially high-risk law enforcement incidents/situations.
To document and reinforce the need to constantly evaluate, analyze, and modify training.
To document the weapon types most frequently used to attack law enforcement officers.
To access victim officer wound location and demonstrate the positive aspects of the use of body armor.
To document the number of officers slain and draw attention to activity type, type of call for service, and duties being performed at the time of the attack.
To educate citizens, policy makers, and academicians regarding the risks experienced by law enforcement personnel.
Though the information in this publication does not guarantee officer safety, it does heighten awareness so that law enforcement officers may better protect themselves while carrying out their duties.
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The staff at the national UCR Program are continuously striving to improve our publications. We would appreciate it if the primary user of this publication would complete the evaluation form at the end of this book and either mail it to us at the indicated address or fax it to (304) 625-5394.