Report: 144 police officers died in the line of duty this year, including 3 in NJ

Posted: Updated:
EDISON -

There have been 144 police officers who have died in the line of duty this year, including three from New Jersey, according to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund’s annual report.

One such officer was Jersey City Lt. Chris Robateau, who died nearly a year ago while helping at a crash while off duty. The lieutenant was struck and killed by another vehicle.

“This guy may have been our best police officer. That’s how good he was,” says Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly.

Paterson Police Officer Tamby Yagan was also killed on a crash back in April.

New Jersey State Trooper Robert Nagle passed away from cancer related to the Sept. 11 attacks this past November.

“It’s never easy burying an officer,” says NJ PBA President Pat Colligan.

Colligan says that he has sat and grieved with the officers’ families after they died. He says that he is disturbed by the 12 percent increase in line-of-duty deaths this year.

"I know there's more dangerous professions, but a fisherman is not killed because of the overalls he wears. We’re killed sometimes just because the uniform we wear and that's what's more difficult,” Colligan says.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund, 50 police officers were killed in traffic incidents, 42 from other causes and 52 were killed by guns, including Cpl. Ronil Singh, a California police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop earlier this week.

Officials say that gun-related deaths were up 13 percent from 2017.

"The amount of illegal guns we’re seeing just puts us all in peril - the people in the community and the police officers,” says Chief Kelly.

The 144 names will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. There are more than 21,000 names on the memorial, which dates back to line-of-duty deaths since the 1700s.

The new names will be added in 2019.

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