WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday announced that nationwide, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty last year and another 72 officers died in on-duty accidents.
In Hawai‘i, no police officers were killed or died in an accident. But out of the 53,469 assaults on officers in the line of duty last year nationwide, 292 were in the Aloha State.
On the Garden Isle, no Kaua‘i Police Department officers have been killed in the line of duty over the past 10 years, county spokesperson Mary Daubert said.
In 2010, there were 12 incidents involving assault on KPD officers, she said. KPD currently has 129 police officers and 21 police vacancies.
Nationally, one of the officers killed last year was Matt Tokuoka, 39, a Molokai native serving the Hoonah Police Department in Alaska. He was shot and killed in an ambush, in which another police officer, Tony Wallace, was also killed.
The 2010 edition of “Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted,” released Monday, provides comprehensive data about these incidents and brief narratives describing the fatal attacks.
Federal law enforcement officers — U.S. Capitol police, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Postal Inspection Service — were the target of 1,885 assaults in the line of duty in 2010. One officer, from the U.S. Capitol police, was killed and 351 were injured. Two federal officers from Hawai‘i were assaulted — one with a firearm and one with a blunt instrument.
Out of the 1,885 assaults on federal officers, 1,005 were on Department of Homeland Security officers.
When the FBI releases the 2011 report next year, Hawai‘i will have at least one death registered. Honolulu police officer Eric Fontes, 45, died after being struck by a pickup truck during a traffic stop on O‘ahu, Sept. 13, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Fontes, a 14-year veteran of the force and originally from Molokai, was the 43rd HPD officer to die in the line of duty.
Before Fontes ,the last HPD officer killed on duty was Harry Coelho, on May 20, 2007. The 20-year veteran of the force was killed while intervening in a fight at Haleiwa Beach Park.
The 56 felonious deaths occurred in 22 states and Puerto Rico. The number of officers feloniously killed in 2010 increased by eight compared with the 2009 figure (48 officers). The five- and 10-year comparisons show an increase of eight felonious deaths compared with the 2006 figure (48 officers), and a decrease of 14 deaths compared with data from 2001 (70 officers).
Officer profiles: Among the officers who were feloniously killed, the average age was 38 years. The victim officers had served in law enforcement for an average of 10 years at the time of the fatal incidents. Fifty-four of the victim officers were male, and two were female. Forty-eight of the officers were white, seven were black, and one was Asian/Pacific Islander.
Circumstances: Of the 56 officers feloniously killed, 15 were ambushed; 14 of the slain officers were involved in arrest situations; eight were investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; seven were performing traffic stops/pursuits; six were answering disturbance calls; three were involved in tactical situations (e.g., high-risk entry); two were conducting investigative activity such as surveillance, searches, or interviews; and one officer was killed while transporting or maintaining custody of prisoners.
Weapons: Offenders used firearms to kill 55 of the 56 victim officers. Of these 55 officers, 38 were slain with handguns, 15 with rifles, and two with shotguns. One officer was killed with a vehicle used as a weapon.
Regions: 22 of the felonious deaths occurred in the South, 18 in the West, 10 in the Midwest, and three in the Northeast. Three of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.
Suspects: Law enforcement agencies identified 69 alleged assailants in connection with the 56 felonious line-of-duty deaths. Fifty-seven of the assailants had prior criminal arrests, and 19 of the offenders were under judicial supervision at the time of the felonious incidents.
In 2010, 53,469 law enforcement officers were assaulted while performing their duties. Of the officers assaulted, 26.1 percent suffered injuries.
The largest percentage of victim officers (33 percent) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (family quarrels, bar fights, etc.).
Assailants used personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.) in 81.8 percent of the incidents, firearms in 3.4 percent of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.7 percent of the incidents. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 13.1 percent of assaults.