Police deaths: End of watch came too soon for 5 NJ cops in 2019
Five law enforcement officers in New Jersey died in the line of duty over the course of 2019, according to a nonprofit group that has long tracked the dismal statistic.
One fatality — the death of Jersey City Detective Joseph Seals, gunned down on Dec. 10 — was caused by a direct attack on law enforcement. Three others, according to the report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, were the product of health complications after officers' responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. One fatality was caused by a stroke on the job.
In total nationwide, 128 law enforcement professionals died in the line of duty in 2019, the report found. That's an 18% decrease from the 2018 figure.
Firearms were the leading cause of death, claiming the lives of 49 officers in 2019, the report said. There were 43 traffic-related fatalities.
Eighteen states, plus the District of Columbia, recorded no line-of-duty deaths in 2019. Texas was home to 17 of these deaths, New York 11.
"While we're certainly pleased to see a decline in the number of officer line-of-duty deaths this year, the reality is that more than a hundred officers lost their lives," said fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. "We've been tracking this information for more than 20 years, and the loss of even one life is difficult, particularly when these brave men and women wake up every day to keep the rest of us safe."
The last time the yearly fatality count dipped below 100 was 1944. The year 1930 is the deadliest on record; 307 officers lost their lives.
2019 New Jersey officer line-of-duty deaths (NLEOMF):
Sgt. Bryan McCoy, 57 — Date of death, 4/6/19
McCoy, of the New Jersey State Police, died from cancer of the brain. McCoy assisted with the search and recovery efforts in New York City after the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Officer William Leahy, 49 — Date of death, 6/6/19
Leahy, of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, succumbed to a cancer-related illness stemming from recovery efforts at Ground Zero in 2001.
Lt. Robert Jones, 55 — Date of death, 6/15/19
Jones, of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, died from complications of a surgery that was required as part of a treatment plan for an illness reportedly linked to rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center.
Detective April Bird, 50 — Date of death, 8/5/19
Bird, of the Asbury Park Police Department, suffered a stroke while preparing to interview suspects in a shooting incident. Bird was transported to a hospital and died three days later.
Detective Joseph Seals, 39 — Date of death, 12/10/19
Seals, of the Jersey City Police Department, was shot and killed after an encounter with two people who police say later killed three other individuals at a Jewish market. The two shooters did in the confrontation with police that followed.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.