🔵 The nation recorded a big drop in the number of line-of-duty deaths in 2023

🔵 Deaths related to gunfire, automobile incidents, and COVID are all down

🔵 Four of NJ's five deaths are the result of years-long complications

New Jersey will account for five names that are added to a memorial of fallen cops this spring.

According to preliminary numbers released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 136 line-of-duty deaths in 2023 across the country.

NOTE: The term "line-of-duty deaths" refers to deaths that were caused by injuries or illnesses that occurred while an officer was doing their job.

The 2023 figure is down significantly from the 224 deaths reported in 2022. The drop can mainly be attributed to fewer major complications caused by COVID-19. In 2025, COVID contracted on the job was cited in five deaths. In 2022, COVID was sited in 74 deaths.

But the report also noted year-to-year decreases in other common categories, such as traffic fatalities (down 27%) and gunfire fatalities (down 25%).

“There is no such thing as good news when reporting even a single officer being killed in the line of duty,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Bill Alexander. “Yet we are encouraged to see fewer overall officer deaths across all major categories in 2023."

In a separate report, the Fraternal Order of Police found that 378 officers were shot while on the job. That number has been steadily increasing since at least 2018, the report shows.

All of the 2023 names will be inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial in Washington, D.C. in April. New Jersey already has 575 officers on the memorial.

New Jersey line-of-duty deaths in 2023

According to NLEOMF's report, New York reported the highest number of officer fatalities (13), followed by Texas (11).

New Jersey recorded five, according to the report. One was the direct result of an on-the-job interaction with a suspect. The other deaths were long-term results of years-long complications.

Robert "Bobby Shisler" — Deptford Police Department

Patrol Officer Bobby Shisler. (Deptford police via Facebook)
Patrol Officer Bobby Shisler. (Deptford police via Facebook)

Shisler was shot in the leg on March 10 following a foot chase with a pedestrian. He died as a result of the wound after fighting in the hospital for nearly two months.

Mitchell Negron Jr., the man that Shisler had tried to stop along Delsea Drive, was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities recovered a firearm at the scene that was not Shisler's service weapon.

Shisler was 27.

Richard Weber — Newark Police Department

Richard Weber (The Officer Down Memorial Page)/Canva illustration
Richard Weber (The Officer Down Memorial Page)/Canva illustration

NLEOMF lists Weber's passing as a COVID-related death, but his death certificate does not currently mention COVID as a contributing cause.

According to NLEOMF, Weber contracted COVID-19 on three occasions while on the job. He last tested positive in December 2022 and significant respiratory symptoms would not subside.

He passed suddenly on May 1 at age 47.

NLEOMF has requested that the police department reach out to Weber's family about getting his death certificate amended to include COVID.

William Gawron — Sayreville Police Department

William Gawron (Carmen F. Spezzi Funeral Home)Canva illustration
William Gawron (Carmen F. Spezzi Funeral Home)Canva illustration

Gawron's death relates to his recovery services offered in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center.

He succumbed to cancer of the kidney on May 4 at age 69. Gawron was in law enforcement for 30 years.

Gerald Barbato — New Jersey State Police

Gerald Barbato (Officer Down Memorial Page)/Canva illustration
Gerald Barbato (Officer Down Memorial Page)/Canva illustration

Barbato served with NJSP for 31 years.

On Jan. 16, he died as a result of cancer that he developed after performing rescue and recovery duties at Ground Zero.

Barbato was 71.

Richard Louis Ruiz — Port Authority

Ruiz's cancer death on Nov. 18, at the age of 68, was the result of rescue and recovery work in the aftermath of the World Trade Center terror attacks. He had a seven-month assignment at Ground Zero.

Ruiz joined the police department of the Port Authority in 1985.

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