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Jackson County proclaims Police Week

Officers from various law enforcement agencies in the United States stand watch during a national ceremony for fallen peers in 2018. [Photo courtesy National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund]
Record number of police died in line of duty in 2021

Jackson County commissioners have proclaimed Police Week from May 11-17 after the U.S. added hundreds of fallen officers’ names this spring to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Police saw their deadliest year in 2021, with 458 federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement officers dying in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund annual Law Enforcement Officers Fatality Report.

The death count was up from 295 in 2020, according to the report.

In 2021, 301 officers suffered COVID-19-related deaths, making the virus the single largest cause of work-related death, the report said.

Deaths from assaults on officers rose to 84 in 2021, including 61 officers killed with guns, four who were beaten to death and three who were stabbed, the report said.

The single leading cause of gun deaths was officers killed in ambush-style attacks, with 19 dying by ambush in 2021 compared to six in 2020, the report said.

Traffic fatalities, including being hit by vehicles, was the third leading cause of line-of-duty deaths, with dozens of officers killed in 2021, the report said.

Other causes of death included heart attacks and strokes, floods and tornadoes, drowning while trying to rescue swimmers in distress and succumbing to the lingering health effects of responding to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the nation, the report said.

On average, those who died in the line of duty had 17 years of law enforcement experience and two children. They ranged in age from 21 to 79, the report said.

Jackson County commissioners have a tradition of annually honoring police during National Police Week.

“This is something we recognize every year, and I’m really glad we do it,” said Commissioner Rick Dyer. “I don’t think we actually appreciate our law enforcement enough. It’s an extremely difficult job, obviously. The last few years, it’s been made even more difficult.”

Commissioner Colleen Roberts said Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler has a goal to have the best sheriff’s office in the state, and she believes he accomplishes that mission.

Since 1786, nearly 23,000 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Commissioner Dave Dotterrer said the statistics are sobering.

“I think it says an awful lot about the law enforcement here in our community and the wonderful job they do in some very difficult situations,” he said.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.