This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty nationwide in 2015 as of Monday was 124, a slight increase from last year, according to an annual report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Utah was one of 17 states, as well as the District of Columbia, that had no officer deaths in a job-related incident this year. The last line-of-duty death in the state was that of Utah County sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride, who was slain Jan. 30, 2014.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which released its report Tuesday, notes its 2015 statistics are based on preliminary data and could change. The numbers show a 4 percent rise from the 119 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty last year.
Of the 124 fatalities this year, 52 officers died in traffic-related incidents, 42 were killed by gunfire and 30 died from other causes, the report says. The shooting deaths include seven officers who were killed in traffic stops, six who died as a result of ambush attacks and five who died while investigating suspicious persons.
In the other-causes category, 24 officers died from job-related illnesses, mostly heart attacks. The report says four of them died from illnesses they contracted from their rescue-and-recovery work after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
In addition, two officers were killed in falls, one drowned, one was electrocuted, one was beaten to death and one died in an aircraft crash in 2015, the report says.
Texas had the highest number of deaths in 2015, with a loss of 12 officers. Georgia lost 11; Louisiana nine; and New York and California six each.
There are more than 20,000 names including those of Utah law enforcement officers inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., dating back to the first known death in 1791.
The Utah Law Enforcement Memorial at the state Capitol remembers the sacrifices of the state's 138 officers who died in the line of duty, either in homicides or accidents.
Wride originally was thought to be the 137th fallen officer, but researchers have since discovered they had missed the case of Leon Albert May, of the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office. He drowned in 1953 when his boat capsized while directing a search on the Bear River for a missing man, according to an Ogden Standard-Examiner article the next day.
The Utah list dates back to 1853, when Salt Lake County sheriff's Deputy Rodney Badger drowned while trying to rescue a mother and six children, who had fallen into the Weber River. The deputy saved the mother and four of the children before being swept away and drowned along with the two other youngsters.
Wride had pulled up to a pickup truck stopped at the side of the road to check on the two people inside. The sergeant was in his patrol car, checking the identifying information provided by the pair, when passenger Jose Angel Garcia-Jauregui opened the back sliding window of the truck and shot Wride.
Garcia-Jauregui was subsequently shot by Juab County sheriff's deputies while fleeing and died the next day. His girlfriend, Meagan Dakota Grunwald, who was driving the truck, was convicted in the crime spree and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.