go down in the line

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Senior Member
Dear all,
could you please help me out with a difficulty in a novel by Dennis Lehane "Gone, Baby, Gone"?

By the way they hugged in the parking lot, I could tell they’d heard about Poole’s death, and their pain was genuine. Cops, as a rule, don’t hug, unless one of them has gone down in the line.

The context clearly points out that 'to go down in the line' means 'to die' but I could not find the expression in dictionaries. Has it something to do with a coffin lowered down on ropes into a grave?
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    Senior Member
    American English
    I see "to go down" as to fall to the ground, as when hit by a bullet. You go from being upright to being down on the ground (not in the ground). But it does mean to die here. To go down (die) in the line (of duty).
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