Nationwide, 173 police officers died in the line of duty, up 13% from 153 the year before, according to numbers as of today. The figures were compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) in its annual report. Unfortunately, New Jersey was not immune to the increase.

NLEOMF senior director of communications, Steve Groeninger says, “What we see in New Jersey is the state suffering 5 officer fatalities thus far in 2011 which is 5 too many in my mind…..In 2011 New Jersey lost 4 officers so we’re one higher for the state in 2011.”

NLEOMF chairman, Craig Floyd blames the rise on budget cuts to public safety departments. He cites surveys by police groups that reveal many cut backs on training and delays in upgrading equipment. A Department of Justice report issued in October estimated 10,000 police officers and sheriff's deputies have been laid off within the past year.

Groeninger says, “When you add those factors together they don’t come up positive for law enforcement.”