Police officers nationwide killed in the line of duty now number 135, up 10 percent from the 123 killed last year, according to a Thursday release by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The leading cause of death among officers is gun-related deaths. Sixty-four officers died as a result of gunshot wounds. Only 41 officers were killed in 2015 from gunshot wounds, according to the report, an increase of 56 percent.
Twenty-one of those deaths came as a result of “ambush-style” attacks, the highest number in decades according to the report. The rest were killed in multiple shooting incidents. The year 2016 ranked even with the two highest years on record for “ambush-style” attacks, 1971 and 1923.
The second highest cause of death for police officers was traffic-related incidents. Fifty-three officers lost their lives on the road in 2016. Twenty-eight of those deaths came from traffic accidents, and 15 occurred when officers were stuck on the side of the road during a traffic stop.
Texas had the highest number of officer deaths, with 17 officers killed during 2016. California followed with 10, and Louisiana, 9.
There are 20,789 names of officers killed in the line of duty engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, dating back to the first-ever known death in 1791. Before 2016, the trend was on the decline. The average number of officers killed in a given year between 2006 through 2015 was 151.
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