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Fighting crime still dangerous

May 10, 2012
The Herald-Star

Law enforcement officers from around the country will be gathering during the next few days to remember the 19,660 men and women who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Members of the Steubenville Police Department will gather at 9 a.m. Friday at the flagpole in front of Historic Fort Steuben to remember the six city officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Across the river, meanwhile, members of the Weirton Police Department, which has never lost an officer in the line of duty, will conduct a service at 11 a.m. Monday at that city building to honor all fallen officers.

Those ceremonies will help to underscore the dangers faced on a daily basis by the 900,000 men and women across the United States who are sworn law enforcement officers. A sobering statistic helps to drive home that fact: on average, one law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty somewhere in the United States every 53 hours, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In addition, the last decade has seen 53,469 assaults against law enforcement officers which resulted in 15,833 injuries.

Just last year, 163 officers died in the line of duty. Their names, plus the names of 199 officers who died in previous years, will be added to the officers memorial in Washington, D.C., during a candlelight ceremony that is held as part of National Police Week, which runs Sunday through May 19.

Of the 163 officers who lost their lives last year, 70 were shot to death, 41 died in auto crashes, 18 died of job-related illnesses, 11 died after being struck by a vehicle, five died in motorcycle crashes, four drowned, four died in a fall, two were stabbed to death, two were struck by a train, one died in an aircraft accident, one was beaten to death, one died in a bomb-related incident, one was electrocuted, one was strangled and one died in a terrorist attack. Of those officers who died, 11 were female.

Since Oct. 22, 1791, when Sheriff Cornelius Hogeboom of Hudson, N.Y., became the first known law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in the United States, Texas has suffered the greatest losses of any state at 1,631. In our area, Ohio has lost 763 officers, Pennsylvania 722 officers and West Virginia 163 officers.

We hope that everyone will take a moment to remember the dedication and sacrifice of the men and women who work to enforce our laws and keep our communities safe.

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