Seventy-two law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011 — up from the 56 deaths reported in 2010, according to data released Monday by the FBI.
The figure comes as National Police Week kicks off in Washington, D.C. The event brings officers from around the world together to honor those who have died in the line of duty.
Of the officers killed in 2011, five were killed while investigating suspicious people, five in entrapments/ambushes, six during tactical situations, 11 during traffic pursuits and 14 during unprovoked attacks, according to the FBI news release.
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Police Week candlelight vigil on Sunday, saying such memorials force officers and others to “reflect upon – and recommit ourselves to confronting – the challenges and threats that our officers face every time they put on the uniform,” according to prepared remarks.
“Block by block, city by city, department by department – we can combat, and hold totally accountable with the harshest penalties, the criminal element that menaces our communities and targets the law enforcement family,” Holder said. “We may never be able to completely eliminate the dangers that our colleagues face – and the tragic reality is that, next year, there will sadly be more names to add to this memorial. But as I look out over this crowd tonight, I cannot help but feel optimistic about our ability, if we work together, to overcome the obstacles ahead.”