Law Enforcement Fatalities Surge in 2011

December 28, 2011 Updated Dec 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM EDT

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Law Enforcement Fatalities Surge in 2011

December 28, 2011 Updated Dec 28, 2011 at 5:31 PM EDT

According to a news release issued Wednesday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the number of law enforcement fatalities in the U.S. rose sharply in 2011.

According to NLEOMF statistics, 173 federal, state and local officers were killed in the line of duty in 2011, compared to 153 officers killed in 2010. The 2011 total represents a 42 percent increase from 2009 data.

The leading cause of death in 2011 was gunfire, which led to the death of 68 officers, according to the NLEOMF news release.

Read the NLEOMF release HERE.