Fewer police officers died in the line of duty last year and fewer than 50 were fatally shot on the job, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Though firearms overtook COVID-19 as the leading cause of death for police officers in 2023, the number of officers killed by gunfire declined and remained far below the number of firearms-related officer deaths seen 50 years ago.

The decline in officer deaths is a “welcome trend,” National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Bill Alexander said. Still, Alexander said, he’s still concerned about an increase in nonfatal shootings.

“I really do suspect that 2023 might be an anomaly in terms of the total number of men and women who die by gunfire, particularly given the number of men and women who were shot and thankfully survived,” he said. “But it is a scary number, and I do worry that 2024 will result in a much higher number than what we had in 2023.”