2015 Was Actually an Exceptionally Safe Year for Cops

But 2016 is looking to be a rough one.


Last year was one of the safest years to be a police officer in more than a decade, according to new FBI data on deaths in the line of duty. In 2015, 86 police officers were killed on the job, 41 by “felonious acts.” The rest died in accidents. Ten fewer officers were killed as the result of a crime last year than in 2014, 31 fewer than in 2011, and 7 fewer than in 2006.

The numbers counter the narrative being pushed by GOP nominee Donald Trump, police groups, and many conservative politicians and pundits—that America has faced a surge since late 2014 in anti-police violence, instigated by the Black Lives Matter movement. After the attack on police in Dallas, for example, several police groups blamed Black Lives Matter for a “war on cops.”‘

However, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that keeps a running tally of officers killed in the line of duty, cop killings are up for 2016. At least 63 cops have been killed by criminal acts so far this year—22 more than in all of last year, with more than 10 weeks left on the calendar. (Eight of those deaths were the result of the targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge.)

According to the FBI’s most recent data on nationwide employment of police officers, there were about 628,000 sworn officers in 2014. You can read the FBI’s full 2015 report on line-of-duty deaths here.