Law enforcement fatalities in the United States increased 24 percent in 2014 to 126, and ambush-style attacks were the No. 1 cause of felonious officer deaths for the fifth straight year, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The memorial fund report said 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers were killed in the line of duty this year, compared to 102 last year. The number of officers killed by firearms in 2014 — 50 — is up 56 percent from the 32 killed last year.
Part of the dramatic increase can be attributed to the fact that line-of-duty deaths last year, at 102, had dropped to the lowest levels since 1944. The figure was down from 123 fatalities in 2012. Over the past decade, the average annual number of officer deaths has been 151, the NLEOMF report said. In 2011, officer fatalities were at 171, prompting a number of initiatives aimed at promoting safety.