Focus at Four: Line-of-duty deaths down for law enforcement in 2017

The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty dropped sharply in 2017, marking the second-lowest toll in more than 50 years.

129 officers have died in the line of duty this year, including 45 shot and killed. That's a 10 percent drop from 2016, when 143 officers died, with 66 gunned down.

Traffic crashes killed 47 officers this year, down from 54 in 2016.

This data was released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit aimed at honoring officers and improving safety. The only other year with fewer deaths in the past five decades was 2013, when 116 officers were killed.

Chief Scott McCollum from the College Station Police Department and Chief Eric Buske from the Bryan Police Department joined First News at Four to discuss the efforts they're ramping up locally to get that number even lower.

"Even one is too many," said Buske. "But we really think we can get that number below 100. We're trying to train and control the things we can control."

Chief McCollum cites the 'move over' law. "That creates some distance and provides some safety for the officers when they're performing a traffic stop," he said.

McCollum says bulletproof vests are crucial as well, not only for protection from gunfire but also "for protection from a traumatic event that might occur in a motor vehicle crash."

Both police chiefs say their officers' relationships with the community is a key factor, too.

"You're talking about trust," said McCollum. "We yield our authority from the community, so whenever we build that trust up, they have a belief in us that we will provide a professional level of service to the community."

For the full conversation Chiefs Buske and McCollum, see the video player above.