Preparing for a Line of Duty Death

honoringthedeadwhoservedbyrandysonofrobertAt we focus on helping policing professionals survive this law enforcement career, but line of duty death is a reality we must prepare for in this profession. It is not so much a question of if it will happen within your department but rather when it will happen. Law enforcement line of duty death is also something that we don’t like to think about but if you don’t do some planning in advance, and prepare for, the likelihood you will be caught off guard and the trauma to you agency and it’s people will be even greater.

I recently had a chance to see firsthand the Honor Guard training provided by DFL Honor Guard out of Indiana. Their training is first rate and gives students all the tools needed to prepare themselves and your agency for the sad duty of saying goodbye to one of your own. If it must happen, it should be handled with dignity and honor and that’s what DFL teaches.

In May of 2013 the The Michigan Sheriff’s Association and the Michigan Chiefs of Police, two leading law enforcement organizations, have joined forces to form the Sheriff’s & Municipal Memorial Assistance Response Team (SMMART) and are sponsoring a DFL Honor Guard Training program in Alpena Michigan.  I would highly recommend that you send your existing or new honor guard to this training if you can.  Here are the details

Sunday May 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM EDT
Friday May 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM EDT

Alpena CRTC
1021 Airport Rd
Alpena County Regional Airport
5 miles east of Alpena on M-32
Alpena, MI 49707

Their curriculum Includes:
Basic Drill
Manual of Arms
Color Guard
Flag Law – Flag Etiquette – History
Casket Watch
Casket Movement
Firing Party
Bell Ceremony (for Firefighters)
Funeral Planning & Preparation

Also if your agency would like to host a school and undertake the responsibilities for putting on the training, DFL instructors can make arrangements to travel!

A school can be held most anywhere, it is just the determination of how much effort the host agency would like to put forth into the event and possibly the need or interest for this school at that specific location.

I was told by Dan Foley one of DFL’s instructors that “our school offers a complete “all inclusive” school, all lodging, meals, uniforms, training, materials, Thursday night (pre-grad) party of a steak roast, graduation ceremony, graduation banquet, challenge coin and photographs and a few other things we throw in here and there…the students are treated like royalty…and while they “earn their schooling” they are treated first class from the moment they step foot into the training”.

The cost of the school is $495 per person, and other than the student and their personal equipment, you can’t beat it.

You can register or learn more about this school and the curriculum by CLICKING HERE.

The DFL Honor Guard training is open to both law enforcement officers as well as Fire Fighters and EMS personnel.

I encourage you to send your team!

You can also learn more about DFL Honor guard training at their website at:

Many agencies do not know about all the resources available to you from Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.). Contact your local chapter to find out about local training or their national Traumas of Law Enforcement training. The national program is excellent and every agency should send at least one person.

You can learn more about this and other training programs by CLICKING HERE.

C.O.P.S. also has a number of model policies and written information for you to download for free.

CLICK HERE to visit the site of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) where you can find these model policies available for Download:

  • Support Services to Surviving Families – to assist agencies with handling an officer death.
  • “In Person, In Time” – Procedures for Death Notification.
  • Model Line-of-Duty Death Manual – Reprinted with permission of the Metro Transit Police Department, Washington, DC.
  • Model Line-of-Duty Death Policy – Reprinted with permission of the Norman, OK, Police Department.
  • Research in Brief – Survivors responses & departmental policies.
  • How May We Assist Your Agency?
  • Oklahoma State University Study – Posttraumatic Growth in Survivors of Police Officer Line-of-Duty Death Research Report.
  • Your Personal/Financial Diary – An aid for organizing your affairs for your family.
  • “Guide To Survival” – For family and friends of homicide victims.
  • PSOB Beneficiaries Designation Form

I have not seen any of there programs but here are some other Honor Guard Training Programs and Resources:

The National Honor Guard Academy

Honor Guard Inc. of Broward County Florida offers an annual academy

Information About Honor Guards

Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Get your agency squared away now!

Photo credit: “Honoring the Dead Who Served” by randy son of robert as Creative Commons from

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

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 Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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