The number of Missouri law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty is on the decline.
President of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police Kevin Ahlbrand says last year, there was only one officer killed in the line of duty, and this year there has been one killed to date. Ahlbrand says typically, Missouri has an average of three to five deaths per year.
He says since 1910, there has been at least one law enforcement officer killed in any given year, but the goal is to ultimately bring that number down to zero.
“This year, we’ve had one line-of-duty death and that was Detective Christopher Simpson from the Chesterfield Police Department,” he said. “He died in February and he died as a result of suffering a heart attack.”
He says officers getting the proper training proper training will also contribute to the reduction of on-duty casualties
“Driver training has pretty much become much more in the forefront of law enforcement in Missouri,” Ahlbrand said. “We’re hopeful and we think that has made a difference. As far as other training for other officers killed by suspects, training has ramped up in that area also.”
Right now, he said, Missouri ranks ninth nationwide in the total number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.
In 2013, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Chris Parsons was killed while serving. In December, Parsons was helping load a woman into an ambulance when witnesses say the woman’s son came out of the home and shot Parsons, killing him.
An annual ceremony at the Capitol over the weekend honored Parsons, adding him to the memorial on a wall for fallen law enforcement officers. The memorial is located on the north side of the Capitol, overlooking the Missouri River.
State officials and fellow law enforcement officers from throughout the state joined family members to pay respects.
Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster were among those who placed white carnations in a single wreath to honor all of those who have died while protecting and serving.
“It’s just a constant reminder of how dangerous it is out there on the streets and how dangerous it is for our folks in uniform,” Nixon said. “It’s a constant reminder each year of how we need to thank them for what they do.”
AUDIO: Mary Farucci reports. (1:00)