Fatalities among law enforcement officers fell 23 percent from a year earlier, according to a preliminary report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). The NLEOMF reports that 127 law enforcement officers lost their lives while performing their jobs in 2012.
The loss of life is appalling; however, the trend is good news. The number of fatalities is not only far lower than last year's toll but also near the 50-year low set in 2009, as shown in a graph from the NLEOMF web-site.
The fall largely reflects a decline in firearm-related deaths, which dropped 32 percent from 72 in 2011 to 49 in 2012. However, traffic-related deaths also fell by 17 percent.
Although the overall trend is welcome news, there were some disturbing developments. Ambush attacks increased and were the largest single source of firearms-related deaths, accounting for just over one in nine officer deaths.
Let's hope that 2013 is safer.