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.