Police Officer Fatalities on the Job

Dangerous occupation? 173 cops died in the line of duty in 2011, so far that is.

Life insurance underwriters do not rate the occupation any more dangerous than other occupations, such as delivery van driver or legal secretary. That’s because insurance underwriters deal in statistics and probabilities. A conservative estimate of the total number of law enforcement officers working in the United State today is 800,000. 173 deaths in the line of duty is, like every death, a tragedy for the officer’s family, his agency and his community. But statistically speaking, it’s a very small risk. Just divide 173 by 800,000 and you will see that the chances of an individual officer meeting death in a one year period is 0.02%. That number can be rounded down to zero. It’s not a good thing that more police officers were killed this year than last year, in fact it’s a terrible thing. But it’s still a safe occupation.

Of course, if I were a cop I’d make sure my driver training was good and kept current. I wonder what those “other causes” are. That was the largest increase over 2010.

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