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Alabama officer deaths are up in 2019, inching closer to record high

Data pix.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Of the 560 officers to die in the line of duty in Alabama's recorded history, 320 have died from gunshots.

Between 2016 through 2018, officer death numbers were low. Many will say low is still too many.

Back in 2004, nine Alabama law enforcement officers lost their lives in the line of duty. That is the state record. So far, in 2019, 7 officers have lost their life. The most recent, Billy Clardy III of Huntsville was killed during a drug bust.

Here is a breakdown of law enforcement deaths by year in Alabama:

  • 2019: 7
  • 2018: 2 *Huntsville Officer Keith O'Neal Earle killed in a car crash.
  • 2017: 1
  • 2016: 1
  • 2015: 4
  • 2014: 4
  • 2013: 3
  • 2009: 5
  • 2008: 6
  • 2007: 6 *Huntsville Officer William Freeman killed by gunfire.
  • 2004: 9 *Two Athens police officers killed in a shootout.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, nationwide officer-related deaths are down 27 percent.

Last year, 166 law enforcement officers died in the U.S. in the line of duty. In 2019, as of mid-December, the number is at 117.

The memorial page also tracks officer deaths by state. Currently, Texas leads the U.S. with 16 officer deaths in 2019. New York has lost 13 officers this year while 10 officers in California have ended their watch. Alabama and Georgia are ranked 4th with 7 deaths this year.

Some states that have not recorded an officer death in 2019 include Oregon, South Carolina, and Virginia.

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