Police Officer Fatality Rates by State

 

Governing compiled fatality data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, along with the number of police and corrections employees working for state and local governments, as estimated in the Census Bureau's Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll.

An analysis of fatality data showed states in the southeastern U.S. recorded the nation's highest per capita death rates. Not including states with less than a few thousand officers, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana were found to have the most police deaths given their number of officers.

About half of fatalities result from traffic accidents. Shootings also account for a high number of deaths, followed by falls and work-related illnesses.

The following map illustrates average annual 2008-2012 per capita death rates for both law enforcement and corrections officers, with states recording higher rates in dark blue. Click a state to display current and historical data.


Figures do not include federal employees. Please zoom out to view Alaska and Hawaii.

A few notes on the above totals:
-- The NLEOMF counts fatalities for law enforcement and corrections officers. Law enforcement officers account for the vast majority of deaths. Per capita death rates for only police are, therefore, much higher without corrections employees included because corrections employees account for about the same number of officers in many states.
-- Very few police assaults and injuries result in deaths. Other measures should be considered as well when assessing overall officer safety.  


States With Highest Death Rates
The following states recorded the highest combined death rates per 50,000 law enforcement and corrections officers over the five-year period:

State Avg. Annual Rate per 50K officers 5-Year Total 2012 Deaths 2011 Deaths 2010 Deaths 2009 Deaths 2008 Deaths
South Dakota 11.5 4 0 3 0 1 0
Montana 10.8 5 0 1 2 1 1
Alabama 8.5 19 3 3 2 5 6
Mississippi 8.2 12 1 2 5 3 1
North Dakota 7.3 2 0 2 0 0 0
Oklahoma 7.2 13 4 2 1 3 3
Georgia 6.8 38 8 10 9 4 7
Arkansas 6.8 11 1 1 3 3 3
Louisiana 6.7 21 5 3 6 2 5
Maine 6.2 3 0 1 1 1 0
Numbers listed are for combined state and local law enforcement and corrections officers. There are less than 5,000 police and corrections employees working statewide in South Dakota, Montana, North Dakota and Maine, so relatively few deaths in these states can have a significant effect on per capita rates.

View a chart of historical annual death totals

More from Public Safety & Justice