Florida Led Nation In Police Deaths in 2011

St. Petersburg Police Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz was one of the 14 Florida officers and 5 Tampa Bay officers killed in the line of duty this year.
TAMPA (2011-12-28) -

So far this year, 14 police officers have died in the line of duty in Florida. That’s more than any other state, according to a new report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Five of those police officers who died were from the Tampa Bay Region.

In January, a cornered fugitive shot and killed St. Petersburg Police Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz. Just a few weeks later, a teenager is suspected in the shooting death of St. Petersburg Officer David Crawford.

In July, Hernando County Deputy John Mecklenburg was pursuing a fugitive when he died in a car crash.

And earlier this month, Lakeland Police Officer Arnulfo Crispin was shot and killed when he approached several young men during a routine patrol.

Across the nation, 173 officers died in the line of duty, up 13 percent from the year before.

Most of that increase can be attributed to guns. There’s been a big jump in police officers being killed by firearms.

The group’s chairman blamed the rise on budget cuts. He says they’ve led to less training and fewer officers on the streets.

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