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Fewer Line-of-Duty Deaths Among U.S. Cops in 2012, FBI Reports

Though 95 law enforcement officers who died during a cop-related accidents or while chasing down some criminal activity during 2012, there were 125 deaths in 2011. And there were 128 intentional or accidental deaths in 2010.

Arizona made the unfortunate list in 2012 with the death of William "Bill" Coleman, a Maricopa County Sheriff's deputy who was gunned down on January 8, 2012.

New Times reported at the time that Coleman, 50, was fatally shot when he and other deputies responded to a burglary call at a medical center in Anthem about 4 a.m.

When Coleman and the other deputies approached a van in the parking lot of the business, [a man] was seen sleeping in the vehicle with his dog (authorities suspect [he] has been living in the van). When Coleman tapped on the window, [the man] woke up, opened the van's sliding door, and started shooting at deputies, killing Coleman, a 20-year veteran with the MCSO and father of four children.

The FBI's latest report, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted, includes "duly sworn city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement officers."

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A dozen of the officers were killed last year while they were involved in arresting someone. Of the others, the 2012 report noted:

  • 8 officers were fatally injured during traffic pursuits or stops.
  • 8 officers died as a result of investigating suspicious persons or circumstances.
  • 6 officers were involved in ambush situations.
  • 5 officers were killed as a result of tactical situations (barricaded offender, hostage taking, high-risk entry, etc.).
  • 4 officers who died had responded to disturbance calls.
  • 3 officers suffered fatal injuries while handling, transporting, or maintaining custody of prisoners.
  • 1 officer was conducting investigative activity (surveillance, search, interview, etc.).
  • 1 officer died due to a felonious incident while handling a person with mental illness.

Read more about law enforcement officers deaths in Arizona and across the country on the FBI's website.

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