“More cops have died from COVID this year than have been killed on patrol,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Monday in Pittsburgh, and he wasn’t wrong. In fact, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, “on-the-job coronavirus infections were responsible for a least 100 officer deaths, more than gun violence, car accidents, and all other causes combined.” The Post cited nearly identical numbers from two nonprofits that track law enforcement fatalities, the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF)
As of Sept. 2, the ODMP found, 100 law enforcement officers have died from COVID-19 infections convincingly linked to their performing official duties. That doesn’t count another 150 officers presumed to have died from coronavirus cases contracted in the line of duty, ODMP executive director Chris Cosgriff told the Post. In contrast, 35 officers were killed by gunfire, 33 in vehicle-related accidents, and 13 of other causes. NLEOMF counts 97 COVID deaths, 33 firearms-related fatalities, 32 traffic-related deaths, and 21 from other causes.
Not included in that database, there were 97 officers who have died from COVID, making it the number one cause of death for police this year. More officers have died from COVID than everything else combined: https://t.co/es83z5Favg
— Samuel Sinyangwe (@samswey) August 31, 2020
“By the end of this pandemic, it is very likely that COVID will surpass 9/11 as the single largest incident cause of death for law enforcement officers,” Cosgriff said. Along with the 72 officers killed in the terrorist attacks, 300 more have died from cancer tied to the aftermath, ODMP says.
Both groups include not just police officers and sheriff’s deputies in their tallies, but also military police, federal law enforcement officers, and correctional officers, and it is the correctional officers that have been hit hardest, Cosgriff said. Prisons and jails have been some of the biggest hot spots for COVID-19 infections, and at least 928 inmates and 72 prison staff have died of the virus, according to the Marshall Project. Peter Weber