FBI Working to Release Data on Slain Officers

By Carlton Purvis

Twenty-seven percent of police officers killed last year were the result of ambushes on law enforcement officers, according to an FBI press release distributed on Monday announcing the publication of the 2010 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report.

Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, the press release was the only thing that was actually published. A Web page for the report was created, but links to the information it contained weren't working immediately after the release and well into Monday afternoon. The data in the release comes from preliminary findings that were released earlier this year, said FBI spokesperson Bill Carter.

“Our online print media people are working to get those links corrected,” Carter said.

Fifty-six officers were killed in the line of duty in 2010, according to the release. In 2009, the number was 48. Fifteen out of the 56 officers were killed in ambushes and all but one of the officers were killed by firearms. The report will also include official summaries of each incident. The average age of officers killed in the line of duty was 38 years old and they had served in law enforcement for an average of 10 years at the time of the incidents.

More than 53,000 law enforcement officers were assaulted in 2010, a decrease from the 2009 total.

The ability of gang members to acquire high-powered, military-grade weapons are a significant threat because of the potential for lethal encounters with law enforcement officers, according to the FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, published successfully on Friday. The report was developed through analysis of available federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and corrections agency information.

“Gang members also target military and law enforcement officials, facilities, and vehicles to obtain weapons, ammunition, body armor, police gear, badges, uniforms, and official identification,” the report states.

Approximately 1.4 million gang members make up more than 33,000 gangs in the Unites States, and 48 percent of violent crime is gang-related, according to the report.

For now, the Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted report can be requested by email, but it could take up to two weeks for a response, said an FBI public affairs official. Information in the report is intended to provide law enforcement agencies with detailed descriptions of the circumstances leading up to officer fatalities, according to the FBI Web site. The data can then be incorporated into tactical training.

Carter said the FBI hopes to have the full data up on the Web site soon.

photo by cyboroz/flickr


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