Police officer
Police officer
Police recorded a big jump in fatalities in 2010, especially when it came to shootings and vehicle accidents.
Fatality rate per 100,000 workers: 18
Median wage: $55,620

The number of police officers killed on the job skyrocketed 40% in 2010 to 134 from 96 the year before.

Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund in Washington, said that the increase in police fatalities has continued into 2011 with year-to-date deaths up 22% through early August.

"They're taking away training dollars, equipment dollars and manpower dollars," said Floyd. "When you cut law enforcement budgets people, including officers, die."

Floyd said that, with fewer officers on the streets, criminals also seem more willing to shoot at them than in the past.

However, one of the main culprits when it comes to police killings are traffic accidents, said Floyd.

Traffic-related accidents were up 37% in 2010 and represented 56% of all fatalities. Only two occurred in high-speed pursuits, he said, with the rest occurring on routine patrol.

"We see a lot of crashes when officers are responding to emergency calls," he said. "Officers are different. They want to help and they put themselves at potential life-threatening peril to help others."

Last updated August 26 2011: 11:48 AM ET
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