MIAMI Herald: — Of the 33 law enforcement officers in South Florida who lost their lives in the line of duty over the past two years, three were killed by gunfire, one died in a car crash and another lost his life to a work-related injury.
The other 28 were felled by COVID-19.
The deadly virus didn’t discriminate. It attacked law enforcement agencies from Miami to West Palm Beach. It killed corrections officers and federal Customs and Border Patrol agents. It took the life of a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officer in West Palm Beach. Statewide, there were at least 53 deaths in the ranks — with Florida accounting for more than 10% of all COVID-19 law enforcement deaths across the country, according to statistics compiled by a website that tracks policing fatalities.
“It is the number one killer of police, hands down,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Washington D.C.- based national policy group Police Executive Research Forum. “More cops will die of COVID than will be shot, stabbed or die in traffic accidents. And it’s an equal opportunity killer.”
Most victims were in their 40s and 50s. The majority of the deaths were white and Hispanic males. The Miami-Dade Department of Corrections suffered the most, losing seven officers. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office lost 5. Three Miami-Dade Corrections officers died over a six-day period just two months ago. Three Customs and Border Protection officers at Miami International Airport died of COVID-related illnesses within 15 days of each other.