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Thu Dec 29, 2011, 02:21 PM

2011 particularly deadly for law enforcement officers

One Oregon police chief was killed when a man allegedly took the officer's gun and shot him in the head. A policeman in Arizona was fatally shot when he went to a suburban Phoenix apartment complex to help a probation officer. And two South Dakota officers were killed in a shootout after a traffic stop.

The number of officer fatalities caused by firearms made 2011 one of the deadliest years in recent history for U.S. law enforcement.

Across the nation, 173 officers died in the line of duty, up 13% from 153 the year before, according to numbers as of Wednesday compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The nonprofit group that tracks officer deaths also reported that 68 federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire in 2011, a 15% jump from last year, when 59 were killed. It marks the first time in 14 years that firearm fatalities were higher than traffic-related deaths. The data show that 64 officers died in traffic accidents, down from 71 in 2010.


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