|“Officer Down”---Now What?|
The worst news any law enforcement agency can hear is that an officer has been killed. How does an agency respond to those devastating words, "Officer down"?
Since 1996, Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) has provided highly acclaimed training to help agencies deal with officer death, injury, disability, police suicide, and the after effects of losing a close co-worker. The "Traumas of Law Enforcement" is recommended for Chiefs, Superintendents, Sheriffs, Chaplains, Dispatchers, Benefits Assistance Officers, Planning and Research officers, Employee Assistance employees, Liaison Officers, Special Operations Divisions, Victim Assistance personnel, any law enforcement officer, law enforcement family member, or law enforcement survivor.
While the "Traumas of Law Enforcement" trainings have usually been funded through Federal grants to Concerns of Police Survivors, C.O.P.S. paid the $90,000 cost for these trainings out of their general account in 2008 and raised funds from Streamlight, GLOCK, Harley-Davidson, the 100 Club of Houston, TX, and the Maryland and Indiana Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors for the 2009 trainings. C.O.P.S. is now able to redirect funds from their general account and corporate contributions to other C.O.P.S. programs thanks to a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs of the U.S. Department of Justice. In May 2009, BJA announced a $1.5 million, 20-month grant to C.O.P.S. to fund the "Traumas of Law Enforcement" for 2010 and 2011.
The training is FREE, however, pre-registration is mandatory.
The training is a three-day seminar, totaling 21 hours, providing law enforcement agencies with the tools needed to develop general orders addressing traumatic issues affecting officers and to sensitize them to emotional support needs of fallen officers' surviving families. The main topics covered are appropriate death notification, funeral protocol, the need for emotional debriefings following critical incidents, law enforcement suicide, officer disability, traumatized officers, the effects of officer deaths on the co-workers, appropriate methods for dealing with survivors after the funeral, and the importance of support for officers that continue on the job.
"This training was perhaps one of the most renewing and refreshing professional experiences I have had for some time. It was sort of like chicken soup for police officers souls," stated Chief R. Keith Wood, Maryville (MO) Police Department, after attending C.O.P.S. training sessions.
2010 Traumas of Law Enforcement Training will be held on the following dates at the following cities:
Concerns of Police Survivors' mission is to "rebuild shattered lives" of the surviving families of law enforcement officers who have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. In addition to "Traumas of Law Enforcement" training, C.O.P.S. provides seminars for affected co-workers during the National Police Survivors' Conference held during National Police Week in Washington, DC. Starting in 2010, C.O.P.S. will be holding its first retreat for affected co-workers.
C.O.P.S. is a national organization with 50 chapters throughout the United States. C.O.P.S. is a not-for-profit organization with a membership of more than 15,000 surviving families; and, unfortunately, that membership continues to grow as 140-160 law enforcement officers are killed every year in the line of duty.