WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — On Monday, a leading law enforcement organization released its annual report on the number of police officers killed in the line of duty this year, and while the number is down for 2019, the number is still staggering.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 29 fewer officers died in 2019 than in 2018, a decrease of nearly 20 percent and the lowest number of deaths since 2013.
In 2019, six Alabama officers were killed in the line of duty. The fallen in the state were Sgt. Wytasha Carter of the Birmingham Police Department, Ofc. Sean Tuder of the Mobile Police Department, Ofc. William Buechner of the Auburn Police Department, Ofc. Dornell Cousette of the Tuscaloosa Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams and Ofc. Billy Fred Clardy III of the Huntsville Police Department.
“With that being said, the number is still 128 fallen officers,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Ferrato, whose organization publishes the report every year, said that’s 128 deaths too many.
“That’s a big number,” she said.
The data also shows police officers were safer on the roads, with 12 percent fewer traffic-related deaths and a 6 percent drop in deaths from guns.
“I think there is some optimism, if you will, in the fact that I think some of these programs are working,” Ferranto said.
Programs, she said for example, that give money to local agencies for bulletproof vests and body cameras, along with education campaigns for efforts like move-over traffic laws, which every state now has.
“It’s saving lives and with those new laws in place, I think we’re seeing that reflected in the numbers,” Ferranto said.
Numbers the organization hopes will continue to fall.
“The fact that it’s coming down is a good takeaway,” Ferranto said.
Meaning fewer names read aloud at the organization’s annual memorial in Washington, D.C.
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