124 Cops Made the Ultimate Sacrifice in 2015
Preliminary figures through Dec. 30 show 124 law enforcement officers across the U.S. lost their lives on the job in 2015.
That's a 4 percent jump from the 119 casualties reported last year.
The statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund show that New Jersey officers accounted for four deaths - the most recent being Trooper Eli McCarson of the New Jersey State Police, who lost control of his patrol car on Dec. 17 and struck a utility pole while responding to a domestic violence call.
Automobile accidents also claimed the lives of State Police Trooper Anthony Raspa on May 30 and Detective John Scott Stevens of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office on Jan. 21.
Corporal Scott Thompson of the Manchester Township Police Department suffered a fatal heart attack while working out in the department's gym as part of a wellness program.
"This year, 52 officers made the ultimate sacrifice in the traffic-related incidents," said NLEOMF spokesman Steve Groeninger. "We ran some numbers and saw that traffic-related incidents have the been the leading cause of fatality in 15 of the last 20 years."
Firearms accounted for the next-leading cause of death. Seven officers were shot and killed while conducting a traffic stop, Groeninger noted.
"Any law enforcement death is tragic, and we always hope for zero in the line of duty each year," said Christopher Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, responding to the latest numbers.
New Jersey also lost four officers in 2014.