Behind The Poll:

Heavy Blue Toll: Law enforcement deaths hit record high in 2021

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty in 2021 hit a record high, exacerbating challenges inside police departments already dealing with staffing shortages, COVID-19 and skyrocketing crime rates.

More police officers have died in 2021 than any other year in U.S. history, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The latest occurred Thursday when a Baltimore officer was ambushed and died.

In 2021, estimates range from 358 to 477 officers killed in the line of duty. Both numbers are still significantly higher than previous years. Using preliminary data, compared to 2020, firearms-related fatalities are up 31% and traffic-related fatalities are up 30%.

More than 320 officers died from COVID-19, accounting for 67% of fatalities in 2021, Officer Down Memorial Page reports. Higher reports estimate 836 deaths due to COVID.

Notably, of the 29 Border Patrol agents who passed away, 27 deaths were due to contracting the virus in the line of duty.

President Joe Biden has been criticized by conservatives for instituting COVID testing requirements for those legally entering the United States, but not for illegal immigrants.
Madeleine Hubbard