A grim study released by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum revealed that for the second year in a row, being on the job was the leading cause of death for a police officer with COVID-19.
“This year’s figures show that America’s frontline law enforcement officers are grappling with the deadly effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country,” the report said. “Preliminary data suggests that some 301 officer deaths due to COVID have been identified this year, and that number appears to be increasing almost daily.”
The report also noted that 458 total law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2021, an increase of 65% compared to 295 officers killed during the same period the previous year, and the highest total since 1930. Duty officer died. There were 312 deaths.
Massachusetts had fewer than the average COVID-19 deaths among officers last year, and a Massachusetts State Police spokesman confirmed that no soldiers died from COVID this year. The report revealed that one to three officers died of COVID in the line of duty in the Bay State last year, but did not name them.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page website, one of the officers was Norton Police Department Detective Sergeant Stephen R. Desfosse, who contracted COVID-19 during a certain exposure while on duty in late 2020. He died on January 13, 2021, after 30 years as an officer, the website explains, leaving behind a wife and four children.
The website also said that three Massachusetts officers died on-duty contracting COVID-19 in 2020, one each in the Boston, Taunton and Rutland police departments.
Large states had the highest COVID mortality rates, and those with lower vaccination rates than Massachusetts, including California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Missouri, each had more than 7 official COVID deaths. Only 18 states and Washington, DC had zero COVID deaths.
After 301 COVID fatalities, the next highest death toll was traffic-related deaths, including single-vehicle accidents, vehicle collisions, motorcycle accidents and “killed” incidents, which jumped 93% year-on-year. The 58 officers who died in traffic accidents increased by 38 percent compared to 42 officers who died during the same period last year.
The report also found that 84 officers died from “serious attacks”, including 61 killed by firearms – a 36 percent increase compared to 45 officers killed by firearms in 2020. A total of 19 of those officers were killed in “ambush-style attacks”. Unlike only 6 such attacks in 2020.
Additionally, four officers were beaten to death, two died of 9/11-related illnesses, and three were stabbed. Four officers, including Worcester officer Manny Familia, drowned.