The nationís falling crime rate is apparently providing another palpable benefit fewer police officers are being killed in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Concerns of Police Survivors.
The two groups reported last month that 117 Federal, state and local law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 1996. The last time the number of police deaths reached such a low level for a single year was in 1960, when 117 officers died on the job.
Last yearís total represents a 30-percent drop from the number of officers killed in 1995, when 162 died. Until last year, the average annual death toll in the past decade was 166.