1999 Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted i (1999)

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        At this year's Criminal Justice Information Services Division's memorial ceremony to honor the
fallen West Virginia Law Enforcement Officers, keynote speaker Colonel Gary L. Edgell, Superintendent
of the West Virginia State Police, remarked that people not closely associated with law enforcement often
wonder why a man or woman would choose a career as a police officer. He stated that the pay is not the
best, and the job can be very dangerous and thankless. He further observed that most of the men and
women who choose to work behind the police officer's badge will confess, I am proud of my profession
and I have no regrets. However, Colonel Edgell said, .... police officers do not choose law
enforcement as much as law enforcement chooses them and there is the expectation that the police
officer will stand on the right side of humanity, no matter the cost.

        The cost to pursue this choice can be a dear one. National data collected by the Uniform Crime
Reporting Program show that 658 officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty between 1990 and
1999. Thankfully, these numbers are gradually decreasing, due in part to the concerted training efforts of
law enforcement. The cumulative experiences of fellow officers-the bedrock of law enforcement
discipline and instruction-help to equip officers to face the increasingly dangerous duties of their
profession. Improved training built on the lessons learned over the years, along with advanced
technological support and other factors, have garnered obvious results: this publication shows that the
number of officers feloniously killed is at its lowest point in more than 35 years.

        Even so, the 42 officers murdered in 1999 and the additional 65 who were killed accidentally in
the performance of their duties are far too many. Far too many as well are the 55,026 line-of-duty
assaults reported by 8,174 law enforcement agencies for 1999. Law Enforcement Officers Killed and
Assaulted is a compilation of data surrounding each tragic incident involving our Nation's officers and a
reflection of the dangers they face. It offers information used by many law enforcement training
personnel who strive to build effective strategies that shield law enforcement professionals and the
citizens they protect.

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