Police Jobs – How Dangerous is a Police Officers Job?



Jobs more dangerous than being a police officer

Police jobs. Many other common jobs are much more dangerous than a police officer including groundskeepers, garbage collectors, farmers, airline pilots, construction workers and truck drivers.

We frequently hear police officers whine about how dangerous their jobs are, using guilt as a motivator to extract support for increased pay or protection from consequences of police misconduct.

After September 11 2001, it became almost impossible to criticize a police officer’s misbehavior without prefacing comments with genuflections toward the officer’s relative “heroism.” “They risk their lives for us every day,” was the common refrain.

Police officers are trained to approach potential threats with overwhelming force, and are outfitted with numerous safety technologies such as (body armor, high powered weapons, training, multiple officers provide backup frequently even for routine traffic stops, etc.) That makes their on-the-job deaths much less likely than groundskeepers or garbage collectors.

Harsh punishment for cop killers – both ill treatment while in official hands and the threat of capital punishment – creates dramatic incentives even for the worst bad guys to avoid killing a police officer.

Top 25 most dangerous jobs in America in 2019

Here’s a list compiled concerning the relative danger of several jobs with higher-than-average fatality rates than police officers.

Number of deaths per 100,000 employed Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics-Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries.

(1) Fishers and related fishing workers – 100.0 per 100,000 workers

(2) Logging workers – 87.3 per 100,000 workers

(3) Aircraft pilots and flight engineers – 51.3 per 100,000 workers

(4) Roofers – 45.2 per 100,000 workers

(5) Garbage Collectors – 34.9 per 100,000 workers

(6) Structural iron and steel workers – 33.3 per 100,000 workers

(7) Driver/sales workers and truck drivers – 26.9 per 100,000 workers

(8) Farmers and ranchers – 24.0 per 100,000 workers

(9) Lawn service and landscapers – 21.0 per 100,000 workers

(10) Electrical power-line installers – 18.6 per 100,000 workers

(11) Agricultural workers – 17.7 per 100,000 workers

(12) Construction workers – 17.4 per 100,000 workers

(13) Helpers, construction trades – 17.3 per 100,000 workers

(14) Maintenance and repair workers – 16.6 per 100,000 workers

(15) Grounds maintenance workers – 15.9 per 100,000 workers

(16) Construction laborers – 14.3 per 100,000 workers

(17) Mechanics, installers and repairers – 13.1 per 100,000 workers

(18) Police Officers and Sheriff Deputies – 12.9 per 100,000 workers

(19) Construction equipment operators – 11.8 per 100,000 workers

(20) Mining machine operators – 11.7 per 100,000 workers

(21) Taxi drivers and chauffeurs – 10.5 per 100,000 workers

(22) Athletes, coaches and umpires – 9.5 per 100,000 workers

(23) Painters, construction and maintenance – 8.9 per 100,000 workers

(24) Firefighters – 8.9 per 100,000 workers

(25) Electricians – 8.4 per 100,000 workers

Being a Pilot is 400% more dangerous than being a cop.

Being a Roofer is 350% more dangerous than being a cop.

Being a Garbage Collector is 244% more dangerous than being a cop.

Being a Construction Worker is 129% more dangerous than being a cop.

Being a Groundskeeper is 124% more dangerous than being a cop.

Number of police officers killed by year:

There are approximately 813,000 law enforcement officers in the U.S.

1973 – 274

1974 – 280

2001 – 242

2007 – 204

2008 – 154

2009 – 131

2010 – 164

2011 – 176

2012 – 135

2013 – 116

2014 – 133

2015 – 135

2016 – 140

2017 – 152

2018 – 119

2019 – 104

           The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty dropped sharply in 2019, marking the third-lowest toll in more than 50 years.

Leading cause of death for police officers:

2016

 Suicide – 108

Gunfire – 66

Car accidents “not wearing seat belts” – 54

2017

Suicide – 140

Car accidents “not wearing seat belts”- 47

Gunfire – 44

2018

Suicide – 228

Accidental – 1

Assault – 4

Automobile accidents “not wearing seat belts” – 26

Drowned – 4

Duty related illness – 5

Fall – 1

Gunfire – 52

Gunfire (Inadvertent) – 1

Motorcycle crash -3

Struck by train – 2

Struck by vehicle – 6

Vehicle pursuit – 5

Vehicular assault – 9

2019

Suicide – 239

Accidental – 1

Assault – 3

Automobile crash “not wearing seat belts” – 22

Drowned – 1

Duty related illness – 2

Explosion – 1

Gunfire – 48

Gunfire (Inadvertent) – 2

Motorcycle crash – 1

Struck by vehicle – 14

Training accident – 1

Vehicle pursuit – 1

Vehicular assault -7

~ Source: FBI Website and Bureau of Labor Statistics and from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual National Census Of Fatal Occupational Injuries report.~

Updated: 01.12.2022

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