More police officers have died from Covid-19 than all other causes COMBINED for 2020 and 2021

Of the 266 police officers who died in the line of duty in 2020 across the United States, more than half died of COVID-19, according to new data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (PDF) (NLEOMF).

A professor at Case Western Reserve University is bringing some awareness to the disturbing trend.

Mark Singer, the Leonard W. Mayo Professor in Family and Child Welfare at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, also discussed some possible solutions during his recent lecture in Cleveland.

“COVID-19 is absolutely devastating police departments around the country,” said Singer, also deputy director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Mandel School. “I’m certain there are local departments that have been ravaged by this disease, as well as our hospitals’ staff, firemen and EMS. We need to do everything we can to promote healthy, safe first responders.”

The data does not include how many police officers were forced to miss work days because of COVID-19. However, the NLEOMF report noted that 145 police officers nationally died from complications related to the novel coronavirus. The organization verifies each reported death, according to its website.

COVID-19-related fatalities were the single highest cause of officer line-of-duty deaths in 2020.

“By far,” Singer said. “It’s not even close.”

The data—which includes federal, state, military, tribal and local law enforcement officers—highlighted an increase in fatalities by 96% from the 135 officers killed during the same 12-month period in 2019.

Despite the number of COVID-19 deaths and cases within law enforcement ranks, police officers and departments have largely avoided the vaccine. There are currently no statistics showing the national vaccination rate for law enforcement officers; however, individual police and fire departments across the country show vaccination rates far below the national rate of 74% of adults who have had at least one dose.

Singer noted that, in typical years, the causes of death for police officers are varied, ranging from automobile crashes and heart attacks to gun violence and other physical violence. He said there are several key factors why COVID-19 is the current leading cause of police officer deaths.

“For starters, there’s no social distancing when you’re a police officer,” he said. “We know that this virus is the most contagious in tight quarters. Then you add in that these officers often work in enclosed environments.”

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 132 members of law enforcement agencies are known to have died of COVID-19 in 2021. In Florida alone last month, six people affiliated with law enforcement died over a 10-day period.

According to multiple deputies inside the organization who did not want to be identified, Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has reportedly discouraged his deputies from getting the vaccine. On August 23rd, highly respected Brevard County Sheriff Deputy, and former United States Marine Harry Cieszynski passed away from a fight with Covid-19. The very same day of his deputy’s passing, Sheriff Ivey held a press conference fighting against Brevard’s Chief Judge to require masks be worn in all Brevard County Courthouses to help fight the spread of the virus. Deputy Cieszynski worked in the very same courthouses.

Florida is 2nd in line-of-duty fatalities for law enforcement officers with Texas being #1.

2021 Data
May be an image of 3 people, people standing, car and outdoors
Chief Nelson Moya Wreath laying ceremony in honor of Palm Bay Police Corporal Tobar who died of Covid last month.

Solutions

Singer suggested police officers should be moved to the front of the line for vaccinations. Increased personal protective equipment (PPE) would also help, he said. 

“These first responders have to deal with this extra worry, in what’s already a tension-filled job,” said Singer, who was recognized for his role with the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland in 2018 at the grand opening of the Five Communities exhibit at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C. 

He also touted the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act of 2020 as a success, which guarantees law enforcement officers and their survivors federal benefits if an officer is killed or disabled by COVID-19.

“I think it’s important to recognize some of the unique dangers that police officers are facing,” Singer said. “They want to come home from work from a dangerous job and be safe.”

The following law enforcement officers died as a result of contracting the virus in the line of duty.

Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, California

Alamo Colleges Police Department, Texas

Alamo Police Department, Georgia

Alpharetta Police Department, Georgia

Ambridge Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania

Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana

Athens-Clarke County Probation Services, Georgia

Austin Police Department, Texas

Bainbridge Island Police Department, Washington

Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office, Alabama

Baton Rouge Police Department, Louisiana

Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas

Bay City Police Department, Texas

Bedminster Township Police Department, New Jersey

Beeville Police Department, Texas

Bell County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Bernice Police Department, Oklahoma

Berry College Police Department, Georgia

Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office, Texas

Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Bloomingdale Police Department, New Jersey

Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama

Boston Police Department, Massachusetts

Branch County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan

Brazoria County Constable’s Office – Precinct 1, Texas

Breathitt County Sheriff’s Office, Kentucky

Brookhaven Police Department, Mississippi

Broward County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation, Pennsylvania

Burt County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska

Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California

California Department of Developmental Services – Office of Protective Services, California

Cambria County Sheriff’s Office, Pennsylvania

Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Chandler Police Department, Arizona

Charlestown Police Department, Indiana

Chicago Police Department, Illinois

Church Point Police Department, Louisiana

Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Clinton Township Police Department, Michigan

Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina

Collierville Police Department, Tennessee

Colorado County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Columbia Police Department, South Carolina

Cook County Sheriff’s Office – Department of Corrections, Illinois

Cook County Sheriff’s Office – Department of Court Services, Illinois

Coral Springs Police Department, Florida

Corinth Police Department, Texas

Corpus Christi International Airport Department of Public Safety, Texas

Corpus Christi Police Department, Texas

Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Dallas Police Department, Texas

Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Alabama

Delaware County Bureau of Park Police and Fire Safety, Pennsylvania

Denton County Constable’s Office – Precinct 2, Texas

Denver City Police Department, Texas

Denver Sheriff’s Department, Colorado

Detroit Police Department, Michigan

DeWitt Township Police Department, Michigan

District of Columbia Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, District of Columbia

Dumas Police Department, Texas

Durham County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Edwards Police Department, Mississippi

Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

El Centro Police Department, California

El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado

Everman Police Department, Texas

Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia

First City Court of New Orleans Constable’s Office, Louisiana

Florida Department of Corrections, Florida

Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, Florida

Florida Highway Patrol, Florida

Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Florida

Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, California

Fresno Police Department, California

Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Garden Grove Police Department, California

Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia

Georgia Institute of Technology Police Department, Georgia

Glen Ridge Police Department, New Jersey

Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Gove County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas

Grand River Dam Authority Police Department, Oklahoma

Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Washington

Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri

Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency, Guam

Guam Department of Corrections, Guam

Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio

Hammond Police Department, Indiana

Hampton Roads Regional Jail, Virginia

Harris County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, Texas

Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Hays County Constable’s Office – Precinct 2, Texas

Hays County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Henderson County Constable’s Office – Precinct 1, Texas

Henry County Police Department, Georgia

Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Highland Village Police Department, Texas

Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi

Hollywood Police Department, Florida

Horry County Police Department, South Carolina

Houston Police Department, Texas

Independence Police Department, Missouri

Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa

Jacksonville Beach Police Department, Florida

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana

Kansas Department of Corrections, Kansas

Kennett Police Department, Missouri

Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee

Lake City Police Department, Georgia

Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Lanier Technical College Police Department, Georgia

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Nevada

Lauderhill Police Department, Florida

Lebanon Police Department, Missouri

Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Lee County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi

Louisiana Department of Corrections, Louisiana

Louisville Metro Police Department, Kentucky

McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma

McLennan Community College Police Department, Texas

McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Melrose Park Police Department, Illinois

Memphis Police Department, Tennessee

Metropolitan Police Department, District of Columbia

Miami Beach Police Department, Florida

Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Florida

Middleburg Borough Police Department, Pennsylvania

Milford Police Department, Texas

Mission Police Department, Texas

Missouri Department of Corrections, Missouri

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Moore County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Navajo Division of Public Safety, Tribal Police

New Jersey Department of Corrections, New Jersey

New Orleans Police Department, Louisiana

New York City Police Department, New York

Newark Police Department, New Jersey

North Carolina Department of Public Safety – Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, North Carolina

North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina

North Little Rock Police Department, Arkansas

Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina

Norton Police Department, Massachusetts

Nueces County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Oklahoma

Old Bridge Township Police Department, New Jersey

Oneida Indian Nation Police Department, Tribal Police

Orange Beach Police Department, Alabama

Owasso Police Department, Oklahoma

Pahrump Justice Court, Nevada

Palm Bay Police Department, Florida

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Panhandle Police Department, Texas

Paris Police Department, Texas

Pasadena Police Department, Texas

Paterson Police Department, New Jersey

Patton State Hospital Police Department, California

Pearl River Police Department, Louisiana

Pelham Police Department, Alabama

Perryton Police Department, Texas

Phenix City Police Department, Alabama

Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania

Pike County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi

Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Port of Galveston Police Department, Texas

Port Wentworth Police Department, Georgia

Puerto Rico Police Department, Puerto Rico

Rhode Island Department of Corrections, Rhode Island

Richland Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana

Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Richmond Police Department, California

Ridgeville Police Department, South Carolina

Riverside County Probation Department, California

Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California

Robertsdale Police Department, Alabama

Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Rockwall Police Department, Texas

Rutland Police Department, Massachusetts

Sands Point Police Department, New York

Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Santa Rosa Police Department, California

Seagoville Police Department, Texas

Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, Florida

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee

Sheridan Police Department, Arkansas

Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, California

South Houston Police Department, Texas

St. George Police Department, Utah

St. Petersburg Police Department, Florida

Suffolk County Police Department, New York

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, New York

Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee

Sunray Police Department, Texas

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana

Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Texarkana Police Department, Texas

Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Correctional Institutions Division, Texas

Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Parole Division, Texas

Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol, Texas

Texas Juvenile Justice Department, Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – Law Enforcement Division, Texas

Travis County Constable’s Office – Precinct 5, Texas

Troy Police Department, New York

Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, California

Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma

Tulsa Police Department, Oklahoma

Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, New York

Union City Police Department, New Jersey

Union County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina

United States Department of Defense – Fort Sill Police Department, U.S. Government

United States Department of Defense – Naval District Washington Police Department, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – Air and Marine Operations, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – Office of Field Operations, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – Office of Professional Responsibility, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – United States Border Patrol, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Federal Protective Service, U.S. Government

United States Department of Homeland Security – Transportation Security Administration – Federal Air Marshal Service, U.S. Government

United States Department of Justice – United States Marshals Service, U.S. Government

United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police Services, U.S. Government

University of Alabama at Birmingham Police Department, Alabama

Vidalia Police Department, Louisiana

Walker County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, Texas

Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Washington State Department of Corrections, Washington

Waycross Police Department, Georgia

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia

Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan

West Police Department, Texas

Wharton County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Wichita Police Department, Kansas

Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Yakima County Department of Corrections, Washington

Yonkers Police Department, New York

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