“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 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.
C.O.P.S. presents the “Traumas of Law Enforcement” training at various key cities across the country each year and every year approximately 700 local, county, state, and Federal law enforcement officers/officials attend this training. C.O.P.S. has presented nearly 100 trainings to approximately 8,000 individuals from the law enforcement community.

2010 Traumas of Law Enforcement Training will be held on the following dates at the following cities:
January 11-13, 2010
Charlotte, North Carolina
Training Location: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police & Fire Training Academy
Training Address: 1770 Shopton RD, Charlotte, NC 28217
Training Phone: 704-432-1600

Hotel: Doubletree Hotel Charlotte Airport
Hotel Address: 2600 Yorkmont RD, Charlotte, NC 28208
Hotel Phone: 704-357-9100 or 1-800-222-8799
Hotel Room Rate: $89.00 16.25 % Tax

Registration Deadline: December 21, 2009

January 25-27, 2010
Whittier (Los Angeles Suburb), California
Training Location: STARS Center- Building K Classroom K2
Training Address: 11515 Colima RD, Whittier, CA 90604
Training Phone: 562-946-7863

Hotel: Holiday Inn Select
Hotel Address: 14299 Firestone BLVD, La Mirada, CA 90638
Hotel Phone: 714-739-8500
Hotel Room Rate: $75.00 9 % Tax

Registration Deadline: December 27, 2010

February 8-10, 2010
Hamilton (Trenton Suburb), New Jersey
Training Location: New Jersey Forensic Science Technology Center-Auditorium
Training Address: 1200 Negron DR, Hamilton, NJ 08691
Training Phone: 609-584-5051

Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn Hamilton
Hotel Address: 800 US Highway 130, Hamilton, NJ 08690
Hotel Phone: 609-585-6789
Hotel Room Rate: $129.00 15 %Tax

Registration Deadline: January 15, 2010

February 22-24, 2010
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Training Location: Grand Valley State University, Pew Campus-Loosemore Auditorium
Training Address: 401 W Fulton, Grand Rapids, MI, 49504
Training Phone: 616-331-7720

Hotel: Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown
Hotel Address: 310 Pearl ST NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Hotel Phone: 616-235-7611
Hotel Room Rate: $83.00 14 % Tax

Registration Deadline: January 22, 2010

March 1-3, 2010
Glendale (Phoenix Suburb), Arizona
Training Location: Glendale Regional Public Safety Training Center-Room #219
Training Address: 11550 West Glendale AVE, Glendale, AZ 85307
Training Phone: 623-722-7145

Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites
Hotel Address: 6630 N 95th AVE, Glendale, AZ 85305
Hotel Phone: 623-271-7771
Hotel Room Rate: $ 140.00 12.87% Tax

Registration Deadline: February 3, 2010

March 15-17, 2010
St. Peters (St. Louis Suburb), Missouri
Training Location: St. Peters City Hall-Auditorium
Training Address: 1 St. Peters Centre BLVD, St. Peters, MO 63376
Training Phone: 636-278-2244

Hotel: Drury Inn St. Peters
Hotel Address: 170 Mid Rivers Mall CIR, St. Peters, MO 63376
Hotel Phone: 636-397-9700
Hotel Room Rate: $84.00 12.5% Tax

Registration Deadline: February 17, 2010

March 29-31, 2010
Oregon City (Portland Suburb), Oregon
Training Location: Willamette Falls Hospital Community Health Education Center-Auditorium
Training Address: 519 15th ST, Oregon City, OR 97045
Training Phone: 503-657-6919

Hotel: Best Western Rivershore Hotel
Hotel Address: 1900 Clackamette DR, Oregon City, OR 97045
Hotel Phone: 503-655-7141
Hotel Room Rate: $72.00 Single $77.00 Double 11% Tax

Registration Deadline: March 1, 2010

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.
The training is FREE, however, pre-registration is mandatory. Visit www.nationalcops.org after November 1, 2009 to register for “Traumas of Law Enforcement”.

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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