Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as determined by Federal criteria. Furthermore, COPS provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.
The Mission Statement of Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (COPS) reflects the strong belief that assistance, guidance, understanding, compassion, empathy, and hope for the future for the survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty begins with a caring, prepared agency. While no person and no agency can be fully prepared for the trauma a law enforcement death inflicts, there are many things an agency can do to prepare for this possibility that will lessen chaos that follows an officer death. Therefore, COPS offers various programs and services for law enforcement survivors, as well as training, reference materials, and guidance for agencies. COPS also believes that a law enforcement death affects not only the surviving family and the agency, but the community as well. COPS has three active public awareness campaigns to call attention to the risks involved in the law enforcement profession and the sacrifices made by law enforcement personnel nationwide.
Public Safety Officers Benefits Program
How COPS Came to Be
On May 14, 1983, on the eve of the second annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, ten young widows gathered around a table and talked about the tragedies that had fallen on their families that year and truly shattered their lives. Each and every widow had suffered the loss of their law enforcement spouse in the line of duty.
After hours of sharing their burden of grief and their tales of abandonment by the law enforcement agency, a young widow from Eau Claire, WI, Lynn Bolton (now BeBeau) approached Suzie Sawyer, then FOP Auxiliary National Secretary and Memorial Service Coordinator, and stated,
"This is the greatest thing that has happened to me in the past year. I have finally found people who understand what I am having to deal with. Next year couldn't we have a seminar?"
Suzie Sawyer replied, "And what would we talk about -- death?"
"Yes," the young widow replied. "Somebody needs to talk about death in law enforcement!"
That was the birth of the concept of Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., which was officially organized on May 14, 1984. On that day 110 law enforcement survivors from all across the country gathered for the first annual National Police Survivors' Seminar held in Washington, DC. At that activity, the survivors voted unanimously to organize COPS as a totally separate entity from any police organization so the needs of any law enforcement surviving family could be met regardless of what police political affiliation the officer had with various police labor organizations.