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Line-of-duty police deaths reach 50-year low

Associated Press / December 29, 2009

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WASHINGTON - Law enforcement deaths this year dropped to their lowest level since 1959, while the decade of the 2000s was among the safest for officers, despite the deadliest single day for police on Sept. 11, 2001.

“To reach a 50-year low in officer deaths is a real credit to the law enforcement profession and its commitment to providing the best possible training and equipment to our officers,’’ said Craig Floyd, the Memorial Fund chairman and chief executive officer. “But we cannot allow ourselves to be lulled into a state of complacency.’’

Through Dec. 27, the report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund found that 124 officers were killed this year, compared with 133 in 2008. The 2009 total represents the fewest line-of-duty deaths since 108 a half-century ago. Also, traffic fatalities fell to 56, compared with 71 a year ago, partly attributed to the passage of “move over’’ laws. Although firearms deaths rose to 48, the 39 fatalities in 2008 represented the lowest annual figure in more than five decades.