PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new study shows that more police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011 nationwide than in years past, and it’s something Western Pennsylvanians know all too well.
The report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that the number of police officers who’ve died in the line of duty has jumped 13 percent this year.
Four officers have been killed in Pennsylvania in 2011, two of them within the last few months.
Earlier this month, East Washington Police Officer John David Dryer was gunned down during a traffic stop on Interstate 70.
In October, Lower Burrell Police Officer Derek Kotecki was shot to death while trying to capture a suspect.
Dryer and Kotecki are now statistics in a growing trend.
According to the report, for the first time in more than a decade, more officers died from firearms-related incidents than traffic-related incidents.
Of the 173 that were killed this year, 68 officers were shot to death. That’s a 15 percent increase from 2010. The study says 64 died in traffic accidents.
The chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund cites budget cuts and cutbacks in training for the upswing in deaths.
Chairman Craig Floyd says: “At a time when officers are facing a more cold-blooded criminal element and fighting a war on terror, we are cutting vital resources necessary to ensure their safety and the safety of the innocent citizens they protect.”
Florida ranks number one in officer deaths with 14 followed by Texas at 13 and New York at 11. Pennsylvania has had four police officers killed this year.