COVID-19 On Track to Claim More Law Enforcement Lives than 9/11

Sheriff’s deputies congregate at Surfrider Beach on Wednesday, April 8, in response to surfers hitting the waves in the evening amid closed beaches.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more police officers nationwide than any other cause this year, including gunfire, according to Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), an organization that tracks and catalogues police officer deaths. 

More than 100 police officers had died of COVID-19 as of Sept. 3; by that same date, only 82 had died from other causes.

ODMP was attempting to verify around 150 more police deaths from presumed COVID-related complications, ODMP communications director Jessica Rushing told CNN over email. 

Rushing also told CNN that “based on the number of COVID cases we have coming in each day we think it is very possible and even likely that COVID will surpass 9/11 as the single incident with the highest line of duty death toll in the country.” Seventy-eight officers were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks and 311 more died from 9/11 related cancer, according to ODMP. 

This news coincides with increased scrutiny on LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who has been criticized by LA County Inspector General Max Huntsman for not enforcing mask mandates strongly enough among his subordinate officers on duty. Huntsman reported to the LA County Board of Supervisors that deputies were not wearing masks while working on Aug. 21.