2021 Deadliest Year for Law Enforcement Officers

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) reports 2021 was the deadliest year for law enforcement officers on record. According to the recently released 2021 Law Enforcement Officers Fatalities Report, law enforcement line-of-duty deaths totaled 458 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers in 2021. This is an increase of 55% from the 295 officers killed during the same period last year and is the highest total line-of-duty officer deaths since 1930 when there were 312 fatalities. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related fatalities were the leading cause of law enforcement officer deaths over the past year. NLEOMF leadership discuss this latest report’s findings in this video.

Key Data Included in the Report

  • The largest sub-section of fatalities in the report was the “other” category with a reported total of 338 fatalities
    • 301 of these were COVID-19-related fatalities
    • Non-COVID-19-related fatalities included 25 officers who died in the line of duty from health-related illnesses, such as heart attacks, strokes, and 9/11-related illnesses
  • Firearms-related fatalities claimed the lives of 62 officers in 2021, a 38% increase compared to the 45 officers killed in firearms-related incidents in 2020
  • Traffic-related fatalities increased 38% with 58 deaths in 2021 compared to 42 deaths in 2020
    • Struck-by fatalities increased 93% over this time last year
  • The three states with the largest number of officer fatalities were: Texas with 84 line-of-duty deaths, followed by Florida with 52 officer deaths, and Georgia with 39 total deaths

Established in 1984, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to telling the story of American law enforcement, and making it safer for those who serve. The Memorial Fund maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., which honors the names of all of the 22,611 officers who have died in the line of duty throughout U.S. history.

More resources on law enforcement and police mortality data can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL). Additional information may be found by visiting the HSDL Featured Topics. Please note: HSDL login is required to view some of these resources. Need help finding something? Ask one of the librarians for assistance!


Note: you may need to login to the HSDL to view some resources mentioned in the blog.

Need help finding something?  Ask our librarians for assistance!

Scroll to Top