I just got back from a wonderful week in Chattanooga. I was able to relax, swim, and enjoy the beautiful scenery , the great food and the company of good friends. I took a vacation. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for death.
Since I developed my disease(MCTD) and became disabled a few years ago, I’ve tried to find things to do to be useful. Thanks to my good friend, John Pasko of the Melbourne PD and The American Police Hall of Fame, I began writing the Line of Duty Death reports for the APHF web page. Having lost my first husband in the line of duty, I find it a rewarding job. I make sure each officer that gives his life in the line of duty is remembered and honored by what I write.
The thing is, while I was away on vacation, the deaths just kept happening. I somehow didn’t expect to be so devastated and upset when I returned and saw that almost every single day that I was away, a police officer made the ultimate sacrifice - Died in the Line of Duty!
I don’t know why I was surprised, I’ve been doing this for months now and I know that in the United States 127 police officers were killed this year so far. That number is up 14% from last year, and last year it was up 37% from the year before! Texas leads the country in Line of Duty Deaths for 2011. So far 13 officers have died. New York comes in second with 11 and Florida is third with 10 Line of Duty Deaths. This has become an epidemic! It's outrageous and totally unacceptable, but what can be done?
The Officers' Down Memorial Page is dedicated to honoring and remembering Police Officers from around the country who die in the line of duty. No Parole for Cop Killers is an ODMP initiative to ensure all cop killers serve their full sentences. They believe that the best way to deter criminals from killing police officers is to be sure they know they will receive NO PAROLE. You can visit their page to see information on Line of Duty Deaths, statistics, information about resources, scholarships and more.
What else can be done? Appreciate and validate the police officers in your area. Wave, give a friendly salute, recognize them as fellow human beings doing a dangerous and highly skilled job in protecting you and your loved ones. Remember that when you get pulled over for speeding or running a light. Act with respect and show that you asknowledge that they are putting their lives on the line each day for you and for me. Help when you can. Report suspicious behaviors, crimes and illegal activities you might see. Teach your children not to be afraid of a police officer. NEVER threaten a child with "The police will come and lock you up". Teach them to go to an officer if they are ever in trouble or need help.
Finally, support legislation that helps the police capture, prosecute and put criminals away. Support funding for more officers and better equipment. I'd even like to start a campaign to raise money for my police department to purchase bullet proof vests for the canines!
If we are to stop these line of duty deaths, cut down on crime and make our streets safer, we must act by using our voices and our votes to support our Police Departments!
"When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation."
-Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder