Data Shows COVID-19 as Leading Cause of Death in Law Enforcement This Year

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It's another heartbreaking statistic that we've seen come out of this pandemic.

More officers died from COVID-19 than they did from any other cause, both this year and last year.

That’s what data is showing from the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund, which spoke out this week about the findings. The Officer Down Memorial Page is also tracking the numbers of line of duty deaths, which are updated on its website in real time.

Data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

So far in 2021, the organization has confirmed 255 line of duty deaths among law enforcement.

This graph below shows the break down. The top cause is COVID-19, with 144 deaths – which they consider line of duty deaths.

Other causes include gunfire (39), traffic incidents and other medical reasons to follow.


The 2020 data tells us even more. Last year, the memorial page recorded 371 line of duty deaths, a 146 percent increase from the year before.

The top cause was also COVID-19, with 242 deaths.

In overall deaths, Texas ranks the highest on the list with 87 total deaths last year.

The memorial page built a special site honoring those lives lost specifically to COVID-19, with countless photos putting a face to the numbers.


Of course, infection can happen both in and out of the uniform.

Local police departments have had to launch new safety protocols for their force in the past year. Many are following local CDC and state guidelines.

In some departments, officers are asked to put on a mask in close proximity to others. Departments like Dallas, fort worth and Arlington have urged their own to get vaccinated.

The Fort Worth police and fire headquarters even has a vaccine clinic on site.

Some departments are also providing PPE and testing, and continue to hold some internal meetings virtually.

Jennifer Gabbert, Chief Deputy and PIO of Tarrant County Sheriff's Office, said 2020 was probably the most challenging year in recent memory for law enforcement across the nation.

"We continue to follow health guidelines, but recognize it is an ever changing target to keep up as COVID continues be a challenge," she said.

TCSO lost three Detention Officers to COVID-19: Corporal Charles Holt, Lieutenant Craig King and Security Control Specialist Jerry Jones.

"We are honored that all three Tarrant County Detention Officers who lost their lives last year will be recognized in Washington, DC this year during Police Week, Oct. 11th-17th and their names will be added to the Law Enforcement National Memorial for giving their lives in service to their county," said Gabbert.

The National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund clarified the data they are compiling is fluid, as it's an intense process confirming line of duty deaths.

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