Job-related police deaths on the rise in 2014
The deaths of police officers in the line of duty has increased sharply this year, according to recent statistics.
The deaths of two officers in a short time has bumped New Jersey to number 14 on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund Preliminary 2014 Fatality Statistics list, which includes data up to July 23.
Nationally, there's been a 31 percent increase in police fatalities in the first half of 2014, following two years of declines in those deaths, according to data listed in the NLEOMF's mid-year report.
Steve Groeninger of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial fund said the increase is a concern.
"To see those numbers going back up is a bit troublesome," Groeninger said.
According to the mid-year report, 67 officers died in the line of duty during the first half of the year. Of those, 26 were traffic-related, which marks the second year in a row that such incidents were the primary cause of police fatalities. Another 25 officers, however, were killed by gunfire. Data listed in the NLEOMF's Preliminary 2014 Statistics list includes the recent ambush death of Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago. The rookie cop was killed on July 13 by an armed suspect who was allegedly waiting for police outside a Walgreen's drugstore in Jersey City.
On a national scale, California has the highest number of officers killed on the job, with eight fatalities for the first six months of 2014. Florida, New York, Texas and Virginia have seen four each.