FBI: NH one of the safest states for law enforcement officers

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NH Police Standards and Training Council.

New Hampshire, and New England as a whole, continue to be among the safest places in the United States for law enforcement officers, according to FBI statistics released Monday.

The FBI’s 2022 Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty report found that 118 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. last year – 60 deaths were a result of felonious (criminal) acts and 58 officers died in accidents.

No law enforcement officers were killed in New Hampshire last year, and only two have died in the line of duty since 2013, one feloniously and one by accident. That puts the state among the safest in the nation in the past decade. Four states didn’t have any deaths – Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. No states had only one death. Two – New Hampshire and Idaho – had two. 

Overall, the FBI 2022 statistics show a 17.8% decrease in officers killed feloniously from 2021, when 73 died. The 60 deaths in 2022 were in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

The 58 accidental deaths in 2022 were up by two from 56 in 2021. The majority, 35, were the result of motor vehicle accidents.

New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officer Deaths 

New Hampshire has had one felonious officer death in the past 10 years and one accidental death.

The last officer to die in the line of duty in the state was NH State Police Sgt. Jesse Shirrell, on Oct. 28, 2021, when his cruiser was hit by a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 95. 

The last officer to be feloniously killed was Brentwood patrol officer Stephan Arkell, on Nov. 18, 2014, who was shot responding to a domestic disturbance. Those are the only two officer deaths in the state in the past 10 years.

In New Hampshire, 47 law enforcement officers are known to have died in the line of duty since 1889, according to the New Hampshire State Police. The deadliest year was 1997, when four officers were killed. Epsom patrolman Jeremy Charron was shot on Aug. 24, State Police Troopers Leslie Lord and Scott Phillips were shot on Aug. 19, and Auburn Lt. Donald Eaton died of a heart attack while on the job on June 13. 

Two officers were killed feloniously in Connecticut in 2022, the only New England state in which an officer died by a criminal act, according to the FBI statistics. Connecticut also had one of New England’s two accidental officer deaths. The other one was in Massachusetts.

Since 2013, officer deaths in New England are:

  • Massachusetts 9 (4 felonious, 5 accidental)
  • Connecticut 6 (3 felonious, 3 accidental)
  • Maine 4 (1 felonious, 3 accidental)
  • New Hampshire 2 (1 felonious, 1 accidental)
  • Rhode Island 0
  • Vermont 0

National Officer Death Statistics

The majority of officers killed as the result of a criminal act by an offender in 2022, 49, were killed by a firearm. Three were killed with vehicles used as weapons, and eight were killed by a “personal weapon,” meaning hand, fists, feet, etc. Of the 51 offenders involved, 10 had a criminal record.

In both felonious and accidental deaths, the average age of the officer killed was 39.

The most officers killed feloniously in one state were four, with five states sharing that distinction – California, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas. 

Texas had the highest number, by far, of officers killed accidentally in 2022, with nine. Florida and Tennessee followed, with five each.

The FBI provides statistics of line-of-duty law enforcement deaths to help departments improve safety for officers, the bureau said. It will release its statistics on non-fatal law enforcement officer assaults in the fall.


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Manchester Ink Link Staff