updated 12/28/2004 12:23:24 PM ET 2004-12-28T17:23:24

Law enforcement organizations reported Tuesday that 154 officers died in the line of duty in 2004, nearly half of them in traffic-related accidents.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors said the statistics for 2004 were compiled from reports through Dec. 24.

Seventy-two local, state and federal officers died from traffic-related accidents while 57, about one-third, died from shootings, the organizations said. A variety of causes led to the other deaths.

“Better driver training, safer automobiles and the increased use of bullet-resistant vests and less-lethal weapons are just some of the measures that must be taken to help prevent our officers from being killed while preserving public safety,” Craig W. Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, said in a statement.

The number of deaths this year was 6 percent higher than the 145 reported killed in 2003 but nearly equaled the 153 killed in 2002, according to the groups’ statistics.

In a six-year period, 1995-2000, officer deaths averaged 159 per year. In 2001, the year of the Sept. 11 attacks, 234 officers died in the line of duty.

This year, the four most populous states led the nation with officer fatalities in double digits: California with 15, Texas with 14, Florida with 12, and New York with 11.

Eight of the 154 officers who died across the nation were women, the organizations said. Eight federal officers were killed in the line of duty in 2004, compared with just one the previous year.

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