2017 has come to an end and as is the norm police line of duty death statistics are being compiled. Soon headlines will report the number of officers killed, injured or assaulted while protecting their communities. Unfortunately, there will also be those who wish to diminish those loses by pointing out that statistically, law enforcement is not among the most dangerous professions. Of course, once you look at the facts you realize it is a different kind of dangerous.

Over 225 police officers were reported lost while on duty reported in 2017 (the final number has not yet been verified).Per capita, this means that law enforcement is not even in the top 10 most dangerous professions in the nation. Loggers lead the list with 135.9 deaths per 100.000 workers, but still with only 91 deaths. The closest comparable numbers are for farmers/ranchers at 260 or grounds maintenance worker at 217 deaths.

But what the statistics do not tell is the how. Simply listing a profession as dangerous due to the number of deaths does not provide the insight into how those deaths occurred and how that profession relates to the dangers of another.

For example, professional fishermen rank second on the list (86 deaths per 100,000 / 24 per year), the majority of which are related to slip and falls overboard or injuries by machinery. Likewise, grounds maintenance workers suffer from deaths related to slips, falls, machinery accidents and automobile accidents.

Police officers face all these dangers plus the added hazard of being shot by the suspects they pursue. Given the increase in police-related ambushes, there is also the belief that officers are at times even being hunted. Any profession can be dangerous. Anyone can die in a car accident while on the job. Training and safety equipment can go along way in mitigating those hazards, but nothing can stop police officers from needing to run head-on into dangerous situations, including those where they are or could be shot.

There are only two legal professions which involve running towards gunfire – law enforcement and the military. Comparing the risk of being killed in an accident to having a job which requires you to put yourself in such a position is the definition of apples and oranges.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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