Introduction: How much, what types?

The March 21 killings of four Oakland policemen and April 4 killings of three Pittsburgh policemen have triggered many speeches about the risks faced by the police, with wording similar to the first clause of the homage resolution sponsored by Barbara Lee (D, CA) and passed by Congress (H. Res. 290):

Whereas the slaying of Sergeants Dunakin, Romans, and Sakai, and Officer Hege serve as a reminder that the risks assumed by police officers daily in serving and protecting their communities continue to be enormous, ever present, and lethal, even as the number of law enforcement officers killed by gunfire in the United States has steadily declined over the last 20 years...

Yet we know that these incidents are not just uncommon, but off the charts: "the deadliest in the history of the Oakland police" the New York Times tells us. [1] And " far the deadliest day in the history of the Pittsburgh Police had been more than 13 years since a Pittsburgh Police officer had been killed in the line of duty", according to the blog of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. [2]

So if the risks of police work are "enormous" and "lethal", yet incidents like the Oakland and Pittsburgh killings are extraordinary, just how much and what type of lethal risk do police typically face?

Get answers drawn from the websites of the FBI and US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by following the links on the right.

  1. Oakland Seeking Answers in Police Killings, New York Times
  2. It's Happened Again: Three Pittsburgh Police Officers Gunned Down, Natl. Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund