Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Each year, the Officer Down Memorial Page pays tribute to each law enforcement officer who dies in the line of duty in the United States.
However, we are often asked why there are variations in the numbers of line of duty deaths (LODDs) recognized by different organizations and when the official list of LODDs from the previous year is made public. There are several factors that contribute to statistical differences and one important point to keep in mind about "Official" line of duty deaths.
The most important point about line of duty death numbers is that ALL cases are considered preliminary by ALL organizations until Police Week, which takes place each year in May.
There are additions to and removals from all memorials based on final reviews and late submissions. The official numbers for the previous year are released during Police Week.
In addition, each organization the recognizes and tracks line of duty deaths has slightly difference inclusion criteria. The ODMP strives to honor all fallen law enforcement officers and our criteria for inclusion can be found here:
Criteria for Inclusion, ODMP
Other organizations, including the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the Department of Justice Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program have their own conditions and review processes. They can be found here:
Most of the differences in the official Line of Duty Deaths counted by each organization are due to heart attack related deaths, 9/11-illness related deaths, or deaths that result from previously sustained wounds or injuries, all of which require medical review.
For twenty years now, ODMP has honored the fallen and we will continue to do so for as long as we are able. It is the goal and hope of the Officer Down Memorial Page that each name we add will be the last, but until that day comes, we strive to do our best to include every officer who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty.