Law enforcement fatalities spiked in 2021. Covid-19 was the leading cause of death.

The number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty across the U.S. last year totaled 458, a 55 percent increase from 2020, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund said in a report released Tuesday.

Covid-19 was the leading cause of death, having killed 301 federal, state, tribal and local officers, the report said.

“It has been reported to NLEOMF that these officers have died due to direct exposure to the virus during the commission of their official duties,” the report said.

The number represented a dramatic jump in 50 years of data in the report. Just one decade — the 1970s — averaged more than 200 deaths a year.

The report mentions only one other year that topped 300 deaths — 1930.

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