AUSTIN, Texas - This week, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund will release its officer fatalities report.
Deaths are down 13 percent over the last year, but Texas still tops the list as the most dangerous place to work.
These are the faces of men and women who dedicated their lives to service and ultimately lost them. 123 in total.
Two of the law enforcement officers served here in Central Texas. According to the national law enforcement officers memorial fund, the ways in which Senior State Trooper Thomas Nipper and San Marcos Police Officer Kenneth Copeland were killed remain the top causes for law enforcement deaths.
On November 4th, Trooper Nipper was conducting a traffic stop along I-35 in Temple when a truck struck him. He was 63-years old and had served since 1983.
Preliminary data from the Officers Memorial Fund shows Nipper is one of 47 officers killed in traffic-related incidents. The majority of officers lost their lives this way in 2017.
The second-leading cause is firearms-related. 43 in total for this category. On December 4th, San Marcos Officer Kenneth Copeland lost his life in just that way. He was ambushed as he attempted to serve a warrant to the home of a man wanted for family violence and assault. He left behind a wife and four children.
The firearms and traffic categories have seen a decrease when compared to 2016 totals. However, the category titled "other" has seen a 50 percent increase. "Other" includes death by being stabbed, beaten, poisoned or job-related illness such as heart attack.
On Thursday, Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig Floyd will release final data and talk with FOX 7 Austin about what trends mean for those serving and perhaps offer insight as to why Texas continues to lead the nation. This year 14 Texas law enforcement families are spending the holidays without a loved one.
In 2016 the firearm- related deaths were the number one killer. Law enforcement saw the highest spike in ambush-style attacks in more than two decades. We will see if that scary trend has continued this year when the full report is revealed on Thursday.