37% More Cops Died… by Jim Donahue

A Staggering Jump in Vehicle Related Losses

Process Problem Solving Contributor for Officer.com. Article originally published on Tuesday, September 15, 2009.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in Washington D.C., the numbers this year are staggering. The mid-year report shows that as of June 30, 2009, 26 cops have died in automobile crashes. That compares with 19 cops at the same point last year. This is 37% more deaths.

Focus on that number: 37%

Now, let’s make it human. At mid-year, 7 more cops have died in crashes than at the same time last year. This year, there have been:

7 more flag-draped coffins

7 more pipers playing Amazing Grace at a graveside

7 more families grieving the loss of their husband, father, brother, son, wife, mother, sister or daughter

7 more cop families of co-workers who are dealing with a tragedy they did not earn or deserve

7 more names to be read at the Final Roll Call at next year’s Candlelight Vigil

7 more cops who gave everything


That is the question of eternal discussion. There has been much speculation about the fact that vehicle related incidents have been the leading cause of officer deaths for the last twelve years. Other causes of death have declined while these continue to rise.

We spend countless hours training in fighting and surviving assaults. We learn how to grapple, face a blade, use the Taser and fight with our deadly force weaponry. But the numbers are clear: cops are far less likely to die in an assault than they are a car wreck.

Where is the training to prevent that?

How many agencies routinely provide EVOC training to their existing crew? The answer (unfortunately) is very few. It is expensive. It chews up otherwise good vehicles. It often requires overtime, which few of today’s law enforcement budgets can afford.

Yet, this is the where and how cops – our brothers and sisters – are dying on the street.

If we fail to act, then to some extent, we have become complicit. We standby while watching our young people – our most precious treasure – get routinely slaughtered.

The full article can be found at http://www.officer.com/web/online/Technology/37-percent-More-Cops-Died/20$48393.

Jim is an Ambassador for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.