Jan 12, 2022 - Health

Preliminary data shows COVID was leading cause of death for cops in 2021

Photo of a line of law enforcement officers in uniform and marching while holding flags
Honor Guard teams from around the Mid-Atlantic region head to the gravesite during a funeral service on Jan. 11, 2022 in Baltimore. Photo: Scott Serio/AFP via Getty Images

COVID was the highest cause of law enforcement deaths in 2021, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF).

Driving the news: COVID-related deaths increased 65% last year. Of the 458 confirmed law enforcement line-of-duty deaths from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 301 were caused by COVID.

  • "[T]his number appears to increase almost daily," NLEOMF said in its annual fatalities report. Authors stressed that it's likely a significant number of COVID deaths that have yet to be reported.
  • Fatalities due to firearms were second highest after COVID deaths.

The big picture: 2021 marked the highest total line-of-duty officer deaths since 1930, per the report.

  • Fatalities rose by 55% from 2020 to 2021.
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