1 in every 10 Colorado officers is assaulted every year


DENVER (KDVR) — This morning’s shooting of Lincoln County Sherriff Deputy Michael Hutton is no isolated incident, but thankfully is rarer in Colorado than other states.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations keeps detailed records on assaults, accidental killings and felonious killings of on-duty law enforcement officers. Colorado’s rates of assault on officers and felonious killings are both in lower end of the national spectrum.

Data goes back decades. KDVR’s Data Desk kept its analysis to 2007-2019 for brevity’s sake.

Every year, one out of every 10 law enforcement officers in Colorado is assaulted with firearms, knives, vehicles or fists and feet.

Thankfully for Colorado’s police, this rate is a little lower than average. Nationally, the average assault on officers rate is 117 per 1,000 officers.

The rest of the U.S. ranges widely. New York has the lowest assault per officer rate at roughly 1 in 40 officers. Far afield in Alaska, officers are ten times as besieged – one in every three officers is assaulted every year.

Intentional killings of on-duty Colorado officers is also lower than average. There were 12 such killings between 2007-2019.

Colorado officers are killed at a rate of 0.8 per 10,000 officers – less than the national average.

Texas tops the national list. It’s rate of felonious officer killings is seven times higher than Colorado’s.

Shootings are only a small slice of attacks on officers. The majority of 2007-2019 assaults on Colorado officers are personal weapons – that is, fists and feet.

Attacks with firearms are comparatively rarer and more deadly. They make up 7% of assaults on officers but 85% of felonious killings.

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