For the fourth consecutive year that such data has been collected, more American police officers have been reported to die by suicide than all other line-of-duty deaths combined.
According to data released by Blue H.E.L.P.—an organization that tracks police officer suicides while simultaneously seeking to prevent such tragedies from occurring—228 American police officers died by suicide in 2019.
By comparison, 132 police officers were killed in the line of duty this year.
Gunfire was the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths, with a total of 47 officers feloniously murdered in this way. Vehicle incidents caused 45 deaths in 2019. Sixteen officers died by heart attack and 11 succumbed to 9/11 illness. Other causes of death included drowning, heat exhaustion, and training accidents.
This is a substantial decrease in duty deaths in comparison to previous years—indeed, a decrease of 20% compared to 166 in 2018, 175 in 2017, and 175 in 2016.
While duty deaths declined in 2019, the number of reported police officer suicides—including active-duty and recently retired—increased significantly. Compared to 228 in 2019, there were 169 reported suicides in 2018. The number of reported suicide deaths was 168 in 2017 and 143 in 2016.
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