C.O.P.S Support Organization Rebuilds Shattered Lives of Survivors Affected by Line-of-Duty Deaths
In Oklahoma, 512 law enforcement officers have been killed.
Each one of those losses left behind family members, co-workers and loved ones who suffer every day from the loss of life in the line of duty. While death is always a tragic experience for families, the death of cops, troopers and others carries unique grief. Many times, the deaths are public and displayed on the news. Many times, those deaths are sudden and violent.
Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty, and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss. C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives.
C.O.P.S. was founded in Maryland in 1984. Membership is more than 48,000 survivors of officers who have died in the line of duty with more 50 chapters nationwide that work with survivors at the grass-roots level.
OK C.O.P.S is one such local chapter.
“Our Oklahoma chapter formed in 1999. It was a secret to me until I lost my son in 2015, who was a state trooper killed in the line of duty,” says Bruce Dees, chapter president. “We raise funds to help get survivors to different C.O.P.S. retreats and to send families to the Kids Camp.”
C.O.P.S. programs for survivors include the National Police Survivors’ Conference held each May during National Police Week; scholarships; peer-support; “C.O.P.S. Kids” counseling reimbursement program; the “C.O.P.S. Kids” Summer Camp; “C.O.P.S. Teens” Outward Bound Adventure for young adults; special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, extended family and co-workers; trial and parole support; and other programs.
“We are here to help in any way we can,” Bruce says. “It’s a support group for survivors, and we want survivors to know they are not alone when fighting their tragedy.”
In Oklahoma, the C.O.P.S. program also includes the Thin Blue Line Run/Walk fundraiser and the Blue Light Ceremony in November that honors fallen officers.
“We are here for everyone who has lost someone in law enforcement, whether that be a blood relative or a co-worker,” Bruce says. “Last year, we took six new families to Police Week in May. We had 75 in attendance. Last year at the Blue Light, we fed 300 people. We do what we can to support families through their loss.”
For more information or to donate, visit ConcernsOfPoliceSurvivors.org.