After a two-year decline, there was a nearly 40 percent increase in line-of-duty deaths among U.S. law enforcement officers in 2010, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
According to statistics kept by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a non-profit organization:
— 160 officers died while on duty this year, up 37 percent from 117 in 2009.
— There was a 43 percent increase in deaths related to traffic incidents, from 51 last year to 73 in 2010.
— Deaths due to gunfire rose 20 percent, from 49 to 59.
The memorial fund has more information posted here, about what it terms the "alarming" increase in fatalities. The fund's chairman, Craig W. Floyd, says in a statement that officers' lives have been put at greater risk because of budget cuts.
"In addition to their conventional crime-fighting responsibilities, our law officers are on the front lines in the war against terror here at home," he says. "Yet, there are fewer officers on the street and other precious resources, such as training and equipment dollars, are also being cut as a result of the economic downturn."
"Our law enforcement officers are being asked to do more today with less, and it is putting their lives at risk," Floyd adds.