For one, the COVID-19 deaths recorded, according to NLEOMF, are based on only 20 states’ reporting. That means there are potentially considerably more coronavirus-related law enforcement deaths across the country. They also show a decrease of 14% in law enforcement deaths from 2019 to 2020—outside of COVID-19. Chief amongst those decreases is a reduction of law enforcement firearm-related deaths. In fact, since the 1970s, law enforcement fatalities have steadily decreased, with spikes correlating pretty directly with times of economic hardship.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page’s executive director Chris Cosgriff, the law enforcement death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when all said and done, will likely “surpass 9/11 as the single largest incident cause of death for law enforcement officers.” Frankly, that number will soon be surpassed, as the “more than 300” number cited by The Washington Post includes 343 firefighters. According to the ODMP’s own tally:
One officer was killed when United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania as he and other passengers attempted to regain control of the plane from the hijackers. 71 officers were killed when the two World Trade Center buildings collapsed in New York City. Dozens more have passed away in the years following 2001 as the direct result of illnesses contracted while working in the hazardous conditions immediately following the attacks in New York.
Texas has the most COVID-19 law enforcement deaths at 25 and counting. Louisiana comes next with 12. Florida and California both have nine. When you consider that Florida is already cooking its COVID-19 numbers, and California has almost twice as many police officers, it’s easy to see how conservative policies affect the true safety of law enforcement.