Thursday, December 29, 2011

Explaining End of Year Statistics

As the end of the year closes in, we start hearing more reports about the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty this year.  As these reports come out from various organizations, we at ODMP receive countless questions about why ODMP's numbers differ from media reports.

There are several organizations that track and report statistics on line of duty deaths (LODDs).  They range from non-profits to government agencies to for-profit businesses.  The most accurate annual reports generally start arriving a few months after the end of the year, but since ODMP started reporting up to date LODDs in 1996, Internet users have grown accustomed to knowing current statistics in real time.  Other reports that you see this time of year are preliminary reports and the final numbers are always reduced by other organizations when they publish their final reports.

While ODMP prides itself on accuracy, let's not forget that ODMP's mission is to remember the individual heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Statistics are valuable for promoting awareness and training, but we focus on the men and women who laid down their lives.  ODMP's numbers come directly from the number of published memorials, which are all found online at  We do not create memorials if the incident was not in the line of duty.

Throughout the year, we work closely with other non-profits, the U.S. Department of Justice, and individual agencies to confirm line of duty incidents.  After the end of the year, we compare notes and make adjustments, if necessary. We are proud of the fact that ODMP's adjustments never significantly skew our statistics.  We think this reflects we're doing a good job—the best we can—to honor fallen heroes.

View 2011's heroes and LODD statistics, and read the stories of all 20,785 heroes since 1791.  Let us know how we can continue to improve how we honor them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Deadliest Days in Law Enforcement are Approaching

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day are fast approaching, which means that law enforcement officers need to be even more vigilant. Excluding September 11th, these three dates are the three deadliest in the history of law enforcement.

Date# LODDs
1. January 1st106
2. December 25th85
3. December 24th84

Every officer knows that domestic violence spikes during the holidays. This increase in domestic calls has a direct correlation to the spike in line of duty duty deaths, both from gunfire and auto accidents during the responses.

Already, in December 2011, there has been a sudden increase in gunfire deaths of law enforcement officers. In the past week alone, there have been three unproved fatal shootings of law enforcement officers in Virginia, Kansas, and New York.

As we get closer to the holidays, please be extra vigilant. Slow down, wear your seatbelt, and as our good friend Dave "Buck Savage" Smith says: "Watch the hands!"

Line of Duty Deaths on Christmas Day, By State:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No Reduced Sentence for this Cop Killer! Act Now!

Trooper Bert Zimmerman
The inmate responsible for the death of New Jersey state Trooper Bert Zimmerman is requesting a hearing in order to have his sentence reduced. This after agreeing to the sentence in accepting a plea deal. Please join us in printing out and mailing this letter to the court system requesting that they deny the request.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Please Help Honor Veterans Killed as LEOs

Veteran's Day will be here tomorrow, November 11th, and ODMP's Board of Directors and staff would once again like to take this opportunity to thank all veterans for their honored service to America.

Look for the "Military veteran" designator in the
biographical area of a memorial.
You may have recently noticed that some officer memorials on ODMP have a "Military veteran" designator in the fallen officer's bio section. We recently began to track and display the status of military veterans, as we believe it is a major part of an officer's identity as a proud veteran.

We need your help in updating our records. We ask that you visit the memorial of your fallen hero(es). If the "Military veteran" designator does not appear on the memorial, please let us know about their service history by clicking the "Update This Memorial" link on their memorial.

As we shared with you last year, veterans of every single war and major conflict the United States was involved in went on to serve - and die - as law enforcement officers. The officers listed here represent all of the fallen heroes from each of these wars/conflicts. We invite you to visit their memorials and honor their service to their countrymen:

Sheriff Robert Maxwell
Greenville County Sheriff's Office, SC
Revolutionary War

Captain John Bird
Texas Rangers
War of 1812

Police Officer Alexander Algeo
New Orleans Police Department
Mexican-American War

Captain John McKinstry
Mattoon Police Department, IL
Civil War, USA, P.O.W.

Guard Supra C. Woodroof
Virginia Department of Corrections
Civil War, CSA

Captain James Meehan
Franklin Police Department, PA
Spanish-American War

City Marshal Albert Suverkrubbe
Fort Calhoun Police Department, NE

Police Officer Wallace Chapman
Philadelphia Police Department

Investigative Aide John McAuliffe
United States Postal Inspection Service
Korean War

Police Officer Joseph Zanella
Verona Police Department, PA
Vietnam War

Police Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco
San Francisco Police Department, CA
Gulf War

Trooper David J. Lane
New York State Police
War on Terror, Iraq & Afghanistan

Monday, October 31, 2011

Free Officer Safety Training from Below 100

1943 and 1944 are significant years in law enforcement history not because of what did happened, but what didn't happen. They are the only two years over the past century in which line of duty deaths didn't reach 100. Although this milestone can almost certainly be attributed to the fact that most of America's men were busy fighting in WWII, getting line of duty deaths back below 100 is a goal every law enforcement officer can stand behind today.

Earlier this year the Below 100 was created by some of the leading law enforcement trainers in the nation. This training is absolutely free, and has been taught in major cities throughout the United States and Canada. ODMP has partnered with Below 100 to spread the word about this free training, as we are committed to completely eliminating preventable line of duty deaths.

Below 100 is finishing off the year with four back-to-back Train the Trainer workshops in three different states: Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Any law enforcement officer or training can sign up for these free officer safety training sessions, which include videos and sample policies that you can take back to your departments.

More information about these classes can be found on the Below 100 Events website.

Below 100 Train-the-Trainer Arkansas
Monday November 7, 2011
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM CST
University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute
7723 Col. Glenn Road
Little Rock, AR 72204
Seats are filling fast. Register today!

Below 100 Train-the-Trainer Oklahoma
Tuesday November 8, 2011
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM CST
Oklahoma City Police Department
800 N. Portland Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73107

Below 100 Train-the-Trainer Texas
Wednesday November 9, 2011
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM CST
El Centro College / Bill Priest Institute
1402 Corinth Street
Dallas, TX 75215

Below 100 Train-the-Trainer Texas
Thursday November 10, 2011
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM CST
Beckendorf Conference Center Lone Star College/Tomball
30555 Tomball Parkway
Tomball , TX 77375

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Line of Duty Deaths on Halloween

Officer Timothy Brenton
Halloween is a day of celebration in which law officers stand extra vigilant to make sure no harm comes to all of the children who are out trick-or-treating. Halloween is also a day on which 53 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty, more than half of whom where shot and killed.

Sergeant Michael King
The two most recent incidents of Halloween line of duty deaths involved the most unthinkable murders of police officers. Sergeant Michael King, of the University City (Mo.) Police Department, and Officer Timothy Brenton, of the Seattle (Wash.) Police Department, slain in 2008 and 2009 respectively, were gunned down from ambush, in unprovoked attacks, while keeping the streets safe for children.

Sheriff Raymond Warf
Seemingly harmless Halloween pranks can also have a deadly result. On Halloween in 1970, Letcher County, Kentucky, Sheriff Raymond Warf responded to a call involving a group of men attempting to dismantle a bridge as part of a prank. When he arrived, the men became combative and Sheriff Warf suffered a fatal heart attack.

The three fallen officers mentioned above are just three of the 53 law enforcement who have died on Halloween serving their communities. Visit the ODMP to read more about these heroes.

This Halloween, while you are keeping your community's children safe, please be sure to keep yourself safe too! Download ODMP's newest officer safety poster now to post in your roll call room.

Police Deaths on Halloween:

Assault: 1
Automobile accident: 3
Drowned: 2
Explosion: 1
Gunfire: 32
Gunfire (Accidental): 2
Heart attack: 1
Motorcycle accident: 1
Stabbed: 1
Struck by train: 1
Struck by vehicle: 4
Vehicle pursuit: 1
Vehicular assault: 3

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

United States Postal Inspection Service: Protecting the Postal System

ODMP staff had the privilege of being invited to visit the United States Postal Inspection Service's Training Academy in Potomac, Maryland. Every new Postal Inspector and Postal Police Officer attends this FLETA accredited academy, which offers a complete curriculum customized for the unique needs of the USPIS. Numerous other federal agencies take advantage of its proximity to Washington, DC, and use the facility for in-service training.

Postal Inspector Jennifer McDaniel (L) and
ODMP's Executive Director Chris Cosgriff at the USPIS Academy

Originally created by Benjamin Franklin in 1772, the United States Postal Inspection Service is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the country and even predates the formation of the United States. Over the past 200+ years, Postal Inspectors and Postal Police Officers have been protecting postal employees, postal customers, and the postal system from abuses by criminals.

This fight has come at a steep price, claiming the lives of 12 Postal Inspectors and one Postal Police Officer. The Postal Service's Office of Inspector General, which is a separate and distinct agency from the USPIS, has also suffered one line of duty death.

These brave men will always be remembered for their service and sacrifice in protecting America's laws. Click on their names to view their full memorials.

Postal Inspector Charles Fitzgerald - Shot and killed in Clinton, Mississippi, September 23, 1908.

Postal Inspector Elbert Lamberth - Shot and killed in Stantonville, Tennessee, August 16, 1917.

Postal Inspector in Charge George Daniel - Drowned near Logan, Utah, September 1, 1919.

Postal Inspector Levi Chance - Accidentally shot and killed in Savannah, Georgia, February 14, 1923.

Postal Inspector Walter Ton - Killed in a plane crash near Bozeman, Montana, January 10, 1938.

Postal Inspector Finton McMahon - Fell while conducting an investigation in Akron, Ohio, August 1, 1939.

Postal Inspector Ernest Harkins - Shot and killed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January, 12, 1949.

Postal Inspector Bruce Shaffer - Auto accident in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, August 31, 1951.

Investigative Aide Benedetto Spizzirri and Investigative Aide John McAuliffe - Shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois, March 14, 1960.

Police Officer Michael Healy - Shot and killed in Chicago, Illinois, June 21, 1981.

Postal Inspector Terrance Asbury - Auto accident in Los Angeles, California, February 3, 1990.

Postal Inspector Robert Jones - Auto accident in Bowie, Maryland, July 14, 2000.

Special Agent Greg Boss (USPS OIG) - Auto accident in Arapahoe County, Colorado, November 8, 2005.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free Bullet Proof Vests

A major component of our mission to honor fallen officers is to do so by preventing law enforcement deaths and injuries.

In that spirit, we have partnered with two nationally known organizations that provide free bullet proof vests to officers whose departments don't issue them and can't otherwise afford them. It is estimated that, nationwide, as many as 236,000 law enforcement officers are not issued vests by their employing agencies.*

Ten-Four Ministries' Armor of God Project provides lightly used vests to officers both nationwide and internationally. Over 2,000 vests have already been donated to officers and there have been two documented cases of these vests saving their recipients lives. Agencies with with a surplus of used vests can donate them to Armor of God for distribution to officers in need.

Fallen Officers Remembered provides new vests to officers and canines throughout the United States. Created after the murder of their brother, Police Officer Rodney Pocceschi, Jaclyn and Gina Pocceschi co-founded Fallen Officers Remembered to provide new vests to individual officers who cannot afford to purchase their own.

Learn more about both of these organizations, and access their application forms for free bullet proof vests from the ODMP.

* The Life-Saving Effectiveness of Body Armor for Police Officers. RAND Corporation. October 2010.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

World-class Honor Guard Seminar Announced for 2012

ODMP is pleased to share the following information from Lt. Kenneth Baine, Honor Guard Commander with the Fairfax County Police Department (Va.):

The Fairfax County Police Department Honor Guard will be hosting a three-day training seminar June 25, 26, 27th, 2012. Attached is the seminar registration form and course outline for your review. This will be our seventh seminar. We have received very positive feedback from all attendees.

The training is broken down into eight training stations which rotate every hour and fifteen minutes:

  • Drill / Hand Salute
  • Urn Guard / Carry
  • Presentations of Colors
  • Firing Party
  • Casket Guard
  • Casket Carry
  • Flag Folding
  • Posting of Colors
Classroom instruction will provide demonstrate how to prepare a line of duty death Teletype Message (TTY) and produce an Honor Guard budget. Mr. Chris Cosgriff, Executive Director of the Officer Down Memorial Page ( will give a presentation on ODMP on day one of the seminar. On day three the class will go to a funeral home/cemetery to practice a mock line of duty funeral.

A small fee of $175.00 per student supports the costs of hosting the seminar. Each student will receive a copy of FCPD's Honor Guard SOP. We have been told the SOP is one of the best written for LE Honor Guards most have ever seen. There will also be a barbeque dinner on the first night which is included in the registration fee.

The class size is limited to forty-eight students and is on a first come first serve basis. The class generally fills up in less than a month. Enrollment is limited to four students per agency. Once Lt. Baine receives your registration form and payment he will send you an e-mail confirming your team members are enrolled.

The seminar partners with Staybridge Suites if you are traveling in from out of town. This is a very nice hotel and their rooms have full kitchens. The hotel serves a hot breakfast daily. The rate is $155.00 per night for a king or two double beds, which is below the GSA room rate for this area. We encourage all attendees from out of town to stay at this hotel due to its close proximity to the training academy. The hotel provides a shuttle service to and from the airport and we can provide a shuttle from the hotel to our training academy if needed. The hotel has blocked rooms at this special rate two days on each end in the event you wanted to come early or stay later for sightseeing etc. Click here to make your reservation: Staybridge Suites Chantilly Va.

Contact Lt. Kenneth Baine with questions or to register (see the registration form below for contact information.)

Document: Registration Form
Document: Staybridge Suites Flyer

Friday, September 23, 2011

Longest stretches between line of duty deaths

At the beginning of this month we were blessed with nine straight days without a line of duty death reported. So a Martin County (FL) Deputy Sheriff asked us, “What is the longest stretch of days without an officer fatality in the United States?”

When generating these kinds of statistics, the further back we go in time, the less complete the data is†. For instance, when we first ran these numbers two weeks ago we showed a stretch of 32 days without a fatality in 1901. However ODMP’s research team since discovered and added Deputy Sheriff Robert Coffey (Christian County Sheriff's Office, KY), so the data has already changed.

Therefore, to make these statistics most meaningful, the following statistics include recorded line of duty deaths from 1910 through today.

The longest stretches of time without recorded line of duty deaths are:

28 October 10, 1943 November 7, 1943
27 January 17, 1960 February 13, 1960
23 April 7, 1967 April 30, 1967
21 October 10, 1952 October 31, 1952
21 April 1, 2008 April 22, 2008
21 July 26, 2009 (2) August 16, 2009
20 February 19, 1941 March 11, 1941
20 September 23, 1954 October 13, 1954
20 December 22, 1958 January 11, 1959
20 April 7, 2001 April 27, 2001

These long stretches are particularly remarkable when you consider that since 1910, the average span between LODDs is 2.06 days (just over 49 hours).

Line of duty deaths occurred most frequently in the 1920's, followed by the 1970's.  The graph below shows the average number of days between LODDs in the decades since 1910.

I am proud of ODMP's research team, led by NYPD Lt. Steve Weiss, that has uncovered the previously-forgotten stories of 952 heroes who died in the line of duty.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What 9/11 taught America about first responders

Ten years ago to this very minute, America was assaulted by a form of evil that many were previously unaware of.  Over 400 heroes were killed in the terrorist attack, including 72 law enforcement officers. 42 more LEOs have passed away as a result of exposure while working at Ground Zero.  It was, by far, the most deadly day for law enforcement and all first responders in the history of the United States.

Click here to view all 114 law enforcement officers killed as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

While thousands of victims fled the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, having come face-to-face with evil, these heroes ran towards the danger.  On the surface it may seem extraordinary, but it isn't.  What is extraordinary is that because of first responders across the nation, Americans are able to live peaceful lives often unaware of the many evils that surround us.  Law enforcement officers face these dangers every day.  Not because it's what they do, but because it's who they are.  And that is extraordinary.

It's important that we never forget what happened on September 11, 2001.  And while we reflect on the 114 officers who gave their lives to the events of that day, let's also remember the 1,582 officers who have died in the line of duty in ten years since then.  And, finally, let's thank the law enforcement officers and all first responders that continue to live extraordinary lives on a daily basis.

114 officers killed as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks

New York City Fire Department, New York
New York City Police Department, New York
New York County District Attorney's Office, New York
New York State Office of Court Administration, New York
New York State Office of Tax Enforcement - Petroleum, Alcohol and Tobacco Bureau, New York
New York State Office of Tax Enforcement - Revenue Crimes Bureau, New York
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, New York
United States Department of Justice - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Government
United States Department of the Interior - Fish and Wildlife Service - Division of Refuge Law Enforcement, U.S. Government
United States Department of the Treasury - Secret Service Special Services Division, U.S. Government