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Police firearm deaths at lowest level since 1887

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Police firearm deaths at lowest level since 1887

Thirty-three U.S. law enforcement officers were killed by firearms in 2013, according to a report released Monday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

That's the lowest number of police deaths by firearm since 1887.

Fifty-eight percent of the 33 officers killed by a firearm were shot with a handgun, the report said.

In total, 111 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers lost their lives in the line of duty across America in 2013, down from 121 in 2012.

Traffic-related accidents were the leading cause of police deaths, killing 46 officers. Job-related illnesses, like heart attacks, increased in 2013, killing 18 officers. And seven officers were killed in ambushes.

The states with the highest numbers of police deaths were California and Texas. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia did not have any police officer deaths in 2013.

Craig Floyd, NLEOMF chairman and CEO, said police departments are devoting more attention to officer safety, reminding police to wear body armor and fasten their seatbelts.

"More than 30 percent of the officers killed in the line of duty over the past two years were not wearing their body armor," Floyd said. "Forty-two percent of the officers killed in auto crashes the last couple of years were not wearing their seatbelts."

"We're trying to get it to where officer injuries and deaths are no longer accepted as an unavoidable part of the job," he added.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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