(WASHINGTON) –- After a two-year decline in the number of law enforcement fatalities in the U.S., the figure spiked nearly 40 percent in 2010.
According to data from the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), 160 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2010. The number represents a 37-percent increase from 2009, which ended with 117 officer fatalities – a 50-year low.
The number of officers killed by gunfire has also risen. Fifty-nine officers died from gunshot wounds in 2010 compared to 49 in 2009.
“A more brazen, cold-blooded criminal element is on the prowl in America, and they don’t think twice about killing a cop,” said NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd.
“Our law enforcement officers are being asked to do more today with less, and it is putting their lives at risk,” Floyd said, citing cuts in training and equipment funding due to the economic downturn.
For the 13th consecutive year, traffic-related incidents continued to be the number-one cause of death for officers in the U.S.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio