By Tom Davis
Gunfire was the leading cause of death for police officers in the line of duty in 2013. The number, 30, was down sharply from 1973, when 144 officers were felled by bullets.
But cops suffering at the hands of a gunman and gunmen has been the leading cause of death of on-duty officers for more than a century.
In recognition of National Police Week, Patch remembers those who gave the ultimate sacrifice by identifying the leading causes of death in the United States 2013.
The material was compiled by the Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring America's fallen law enforcement heroes. The page keeps track of the more than 20,000 officers who died while protecting their neighborhoods, their streets and their citizens, and pays tribute by preserving their memories.
The page was created in 1996 by future Police Officer Chris Cosgriff, then a James Madison University freshman, who read a Washington Post article about the release of a murderer who was convicted of slaying two Prince George's County, Md. police officers.
He felt compelled to honor the officers through the Internet. In recognition of National Police Week, Patch, funeral homes and Facebook also captured small glimpses of their lives through pictures and anecdotes.