The Edmond Sun
Law enforcement officer fatalities nationwide decreased by 23 percent during 2012, with 127 federal, state and local officers killed in the line of duty
Mere numbers cannot measure or express the profound sense of loss for an officer’s family, fellow officers, the community and the nation.
Earlier this week, Bellaire Police Department (Texas) Corp. Jimmie Norman was involved in a life-and-death struggle with a subject after a 9 a.m. Christmas Eve traffic stop turned into a pursuit. During a struggle, the subject fired a gun, killing the officer and the owner of a Maaco store who had come to assist. Norman had served with the Bellaire PD for 23 years. He is survived by his wife and children.
Also on Christmas Eve, Wauwatosa Police Department (Wisconsin) Police Officer Jennifer Lynn Sebena, 30, was mortally wounded by gunfire near an intersection in the town. When she could not be reached by dispatch, she was located by other officers. Sebena had served with the Wauwatosa PD for two years. She is survived by her husband, who has been arrested in her death, according to an Associated Press report.
On Thursday, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund released preliminary findings. In 2012, No. 1 cause of officer fatalities was traffic-related incidents, which claimed 50 lives, followed by 49 officers killed by gunfire. Twenty-eight officers died due to other causes.
This year’s significant drop in law enforcement fatalities follows a two-year period when the number of officer deaths had seen an alarming increase. There were 154 officer fatalities in 2010, and 165 in 2011.
The statistics through Dec. 26, released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors, do not represent a final or complete list of individual officers who will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in 2013.
According to the report, traffic-related incidents declined 17 percent in 2012 (50) compared to 2011 (60). Of these 50 officers, 30 were killed in auto crashes, 14 were struck outside their vehicle and six were killed in motorcycle crashes.
After a two-year increase, firearms-related fatalities declined by 32 percent in 2012 (49) compared to 2011 (72). Officers were killed in ambushes, during traffic stops or while in pursuit, in drug-related incidents, responding to a robbery, investigating suspicious persons or circumstances, responding to domestic disturbance calls, attempting an arrest, responding to a disturbance call or from accidental shootings. Others died due to job-related illnesses, being stabbed, falling to their death, helicopter crashes, beatings, an aircraft crash and a boating incident.
Nine officers killed served with federal law enforcement agencies and seven with correctional agencies. Thirteen were female. On average, the officers were 41 years old and had served for 12 years.
Edmond Police Department spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said fortunately the agency has not lost an officer in the line of duty, but the law enforcement community is a tightly woven group.
“When one agency is affected by this, we all are,” Monroe said.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, four officers and one canine officer were killed this year in Oklahoma:
• Oklahoma City Police Department Cadet Kelley Chase, 38, died Oct. 13, 2012, from injuries sustained during a training accident. He is survived by his wife and two children;
• Harper County Reserve Deputy Sheriff William Charles “Charley” Coen, 57, was killed by injuries sustained in a crash during a call for assistance on June 10, 2012. He is survived by his wife and two children;
• Oklahoma Department of Corrections Probation/Parole Officer Jeffrey McCoy, 32, was shot and killed by a subject who was not the object of a pre-release supervision check on May 18, 2012. The seven-year veteran is survived by his wife and two children;
• Choctaw County Deputy Sheriff Brian Hayden, 47, was killed from injuries sustained when his patrol vehicle, a Chevy truck, collided with a Choctaw Nation police officer’s patrol car as both men responded to a shots fired call involving a third officer on April 19, 2012. The 19-year-law enforcement veteran is survived by his wife and four children;
• K9 Creed, Panama Police Department, was killed on Aug. 5, 2012. The 2-year-old German shepherd was shot at his partner’s home.
For a complete copy of the preliminary report on 2012 law enforcement fatalities, visit www.LawMemorial.org/ResearchBulletin. For more information about the officers killed, visit the Officer Down Memorial Page at www.odmp.org.
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