Police deaths rise on increase in traffic crashes, shootings

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's been one of the deadliest years for law enforcement in more than a decade.

A report by two Washington, D.C. groups says 2007 saw a record number of fatal traffic incidents and a double-digit spike in shooting deaths among law enforcement officers.

With five days left in the year, 186 officers have died this year, up from 145 last year. That's the most since 1989, not counting 2001, when the September 11th attacks brought a big spike.

This year, 81 law enforcement officers died in traffic incidents, up from the record of 78 set in 2000. And shooting deaths increased from 52 to 69.

After traffic crashes and shootings, physical causes such as heart attacks were the leading cause of death.

The numbers were released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)