Oct 16, 2021 - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Police officers lined up.

Photo: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

Driving the news: Many police officers across the country are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine and ignoring local mandates to get vaccinated.

The big picture: In 2020, 245 members of law enforcement died from COVID-19 and 231 have died in 2021, according to ODMP.

  • Police officers aren't getting vaccinated due to misinformation and distrust in the science of vaccines, per CNN.
  • Almost 2,600 members of the Los Angeles Police Department said they intended to get a religious exemption so they wouldn't have to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the New York Times reports.
  • Vaccine mandates in the workplace have become more common due to the wave of new COVID-19 cases and deaths over the summer.

What they're saying: “If this was cops getting shot on the streets of America today at this number, there would be outrage,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, per the NYT.

  • “This is an issue that begs for leadership and putting politics aside," Wexler added. "And that’s exactly the opposite of what’s happening right now.”
  • "If you are serious about your commitment to protect the public ... and if you are serious about your personal commitments to your family, then that should be enough," said Jessica Desfosses, whose husband was a police officer and died of COVID-19 in January, per CNN.

Go deeper: Scores of police officers are refusing the COVID vaccine

Go deeper