Photo: C.O.P.S.

Photo: C.O.P.S.

When an officer dies in the line of duty, we often hear fellow law enforcement officers say, "He was like a brother," or "She was like family." Statements such as these are why Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) has expanded its programs for officers who have lost a colleague.

As a part of this year's National Police Survivors' Conference in May during National Police Week, we will be offering new sessions tailored for affected co-workers. The debriefing topics will cover death by felonious action, accidental action, drunk driving, and friendly fire/friendly action.

In addition to debriefing sessions, there will be multiple breakout sessions available during the two-day conference from May 14-15. The proposed sessions available to co-workers include:

  • Co-workers and Families: Easing Each Other's Pain
  • Creating a Caring Agency
  • Flashbacks and Nightmares: You Don't Have to Suffer with Them
  • Law Enforcement Death is Always So Traumatic, Why?
  • Loss and Grief: Why Do I Feel This Way?
  • My Anger Consumes Me
  • Preparing for Trial and the Aftermath
  • Reaching Out to the Newly Bereaved
  • Tactics for Preventing Chronic Depression
  • Being a Law Enforcement Officer and a Family Survivor
  • Care for the Caregivers
  • Don't Call Me Lucky
  • Grief: One Size Does Not Fit All
  • Survivor Guilt: Why Do I Feel So Guilty About Being Alive?
  • The Psychology of Survival
  • Two Steps Forward, One Step Back...One Step Forward, Three Steps Back
  • Where Does God Fit Into All This?

In the coming months, C.O.P.S. will highlight sessions and programs available at the conference designed for affected co-workers.This month, let's look at the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program.

As law enforcement officers, you and your family face a daily question, "What happens to my family if I don't come home?" This program provides the answers to these questions.

Enacted in 1976, the PSOB program offered through the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Office of Justice programs is a partnership effort of the U.S. Department of Justice, local, state, and federal public safety agencies, and national organizations such as Concerns of Police Survivors. PSOB provides death, disability, and educational benefits to those eligible for the program. Although this session isn't designed for recent survivors, co-workers and C.O.P.S. chapter representatives are encouraged to attend.

This session is an opportunity for co-workers and chapter representatives to meet with Hope Janke, PSOB director.

Law enforcement officers play a pivotal role in National Police Week, especially when they're serving as memorial service escort officers to co-workers. Oftentimes the National Police Survivors' Conference can be a safe place for affected co-workers to meet with the surviving family to discuss the issues surrounding a line-of-duty death and provide an avenue to open the lines of communication.

We hope that if you're an affected co-worker, you'll reach out to C.O.P.S. for the help that you need in the wake of a tragic line-of-duty death.

For more information about attending the conference during National Police Week, visit the C.O.P.S. conference section of the website. To learn more about attending the co-workers retreat from Oct. 5-8 at the YMCA Trout Lodge in Potosi, Mo., please visit the C.O.P.S. website.