More than 300 police officers in the U.S. have died in the line of duty due to COVID-19, the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) reported Wednesday.
The FOP said that as of Wednesday, it has counted 302 officer coronavirus fatalities across the 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa.
The largest police union in the country said that the pandemic poses a “public safety crisis," not just a health one.
“The FOP knew at the beginning of the pandemic that law enforcement officers on the front lines combating this pandemic — more than 90% of whom will be responding from local and State agencies — would be increasingly vulnerable to contracting the virus,” the union said in a release.
The National Fraternal Order of Police reports with sadness that as of today, 302 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty due to #COVID19.— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) December 16, 2020
View the state-by-state breakdown ➡️ https://t.co/GUKsVK6OLH pic.twitter.com/c9xaxDhqqx
The union said its death toll was compiled using news reports of officers’ deaths and that not all of the fatalities have been verified.
"The FOP’s goal is to maintain an accurate and up-to-date list and is working around the clock to support our members as we all respond to the national pandemic,” the release said, encouraging people to send in obituaries for officers who died of COVID-19.
The union’s data shows Texas recording the most law enforcement COVID-19 deaths, with 71 fatalities, followed by New York with 34, Louisiana with 23 and California and Florida with 19 each.
As of Wednesday, the FOP reported 28 states and territories having more than one officer COVID-19 death. Seventeen states and territories recorded no officer deaths, while nine states documented one.
The union’s report comes two days after the U.S.’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 300,000.
The U.S. has recorded 304,589 COVID-19-related fatalities as of Wednesday afternoon since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 16.7 million identified cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Data from the COVID Tracking Project shows New York having documented the most COVID-19 fatalities overall, followed by Texas, California, Florida and New Jersey.