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C.O.P.S. Arizona

Concerns of Police Survivors — Rebuilding Shattered Lives
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Concerns of Police Survivors was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members. Today C.O.P.S....
Our Mission:

Provide resources to assist in the rebuilding of lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as determined by Federal criteria. Furthermore, C.O.P.S. 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.
Our Vision:

We are committed to honoring the fallen by rebuilding, educating, and supporting law enforcement survivors and agencies with excellence, integrity, and compassion.

Second Annual DPS Memorial 5K a resounding success!

Event raised more than $9,000 while honoring fallen DPS Officers

The 2nd Annual DPS Memorial 5K was held on Sunday, September 28, at Reid Park in Tucson.

There were 276 participants, including phantom runners, in the event that was held to honor each of DPS’s 29 fallen Officers and also raise money for the Arizona Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) organization.

Through corporate sponsorships, entry fees and the sale of commemorative items like challenge coins and t-shirts, the event raised more than $9,000.

Most of those participating in the event were DPS employees and their family mem­bers, but other participants included surviv­ing loved ones of fallen DPS officers and DPS retirees. Members of several area law enforcement agencies and groups also showed up to participate.

Overall, the feedback (the committee received) was very positive about this year’s event and the addition of the DPS Ranger helicopter and DPS vehicle displays were well re­ceived. This year’s race committee con­sisted of Sgt. Trent and Nancy Adamson, Officer Josh and Ashley Wilhelm, and Captain Jenna Mitchell.

The committee expressed sincere ap­preciation to the Department for all of their support and the following individuals support to the race committee was especially wor­thy of individual recognition: Anni Fos­ter, Jimmy Jertson, Gary Keltz, Noranne Lenox, Lisa Campoy, Brian Amos, Neah Layno, Paul Maine, and the DPS Honor Guard.

Plans are already underway for the 3rd Annual DPS Memorial 5K, tentatively scheduled for Sunday, October 4, 2015.

This year’s 5K winners were:

Men’s Champion - Rusty Mace

Men’s 2nd Place - Richard Maine

Women’s Champion - Erica Cramer

Women’s 2nd Place - Angela Vargas

Men’s Best Rucker - Ariel Hernandez- Frayre and his Pug, Johnny Cash

Women’s Best Rucker - Ashley Wilhelm carrying her two babies

 

See all the photos from the event on our facebook page at: www.facebook.com/COPSArizona

Arizona Blue Alert Signed Into Law!

In partnership with the Arizona Highway Patrol Association, we are pleased to announce that the Arizona Blue Alert was officially signed into law.  The National Blue Alert is a nationwide initiative to alert the public about an officer that has been killed or injured in the line of duty.  The public is then alerted, similar to the Amber Alert, to send in tips about a suspect(s) at large.  Representative Justin Pierce introduced the bill with support from C.O.P.S..  The formal bill ceremony took place July 31st, 2014 with Governor Brewer.  AHPA is looking forward to this alert executed out with the support of the Department of Public Safety (D.P.S.), media and our engaged citizens. 

 

Coverage from the Bill Signing:

KPHO: http://www.kpho.com/story/26162785/brewer-set-to-sign-arizonas-blue-alert-law

KTAR: http://ktar.com/22/1755067/Arizona-starts-Blue-Alert-system-to-catch-those-who-assault-police

TUCSON NEWS NOW: http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/26168099/brewer-signs-arizonas-blue-alert-law-to-catch-dangerous-criminals

AZFAMILY 3TV: http://www.azfamily.com/news/Blue-Alert-System-takes-effect-Thursday-helps-officers--269400651.html

KGUN 9: http://www.jrn.com/kgun9/news/Arizona-adopts-Blue-Alert-system-269640041.html

12 NEWS: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2014/07/30/12news-blue-and-silver-alerts-arizona/13368893/

FOX 10: http://www.myfoxphoenix.com/clip/10425045/blue-alert-to-be-signed-into-law

ABC 15: http://www.abc15.com/news/state/emergency-notification-system-for-criminals-acting-against-police-officers-to-be-signed-thursday

Officer Seth Meeske media reporting: How reports affect first responders & their families after critical incidents.

Police officers can become numb due to the amount of times they have viewed the results of a crime or accident.  To civilians, like survivors and law enforcement families, the critical incidents officers encounter regularly can be horrifying.  After an officer-involved shooting or a line of duty death, officers and their families can never been prepared for the inevitable details.  The finite records of these events, accurate or not, are played out in court, media and within public safety agencies for everyone – including our loved ones. 

Unfortunately, Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Meeske, knows this all too well.  Officer Meeske could have easily been the third officer killed in the line of duty in 2013 after being attacked by a brazen criminal last September 21, 2013. His heroism after being shot helped locate the individual and he was fortunate to go home to his family.  His will to continue to serve as an officer, after being shot and recovering from those injuries, is inspiring to all of us.  For almost a year, the details of this incident have been discussed in the media.  However, one article that came out by the Payson Roundup was disturbing to our police survivors.  The story entitled “A Night of Deadly Choices” on June 16, 2014, the reporter told Officer Meeske that she wanted to do a piece from the suspect’s point of view.  It showed pictures of Meeske’s blood on the side of his patrol car and the suspect’s body in handcuffs, as if the criminal was apprehended and brought to justice.  Instead, you would never know that the suspect ended up committing suicide at the end of the pursuit unless you read the small details at the end of the article.  C.O.P.S. media relations representative asked the editor as to why they would publish those particular photos from the critical incident, and he said it was done with the best of intentions to help show Meeske’s heroism. 

Needless to say, this article was not just disturbing to survivors, but to Officer Meeske and his family.  The question we have heard most from survivors was, “Where is the line to publish photos of a critical incident?”  The C.O.P.S. board could not agree more.  Can you imagine if a photo of one of our line of duty deaths was published?  It is important to C.O.P.S. that we continue to work with media to be our partners in reporting line of duty deaths and critical incidents appropriately.  The reproductions of viewing pictures and reading details can impact our law enforcement community greatly.  Below is an editorial the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Arizona Chapter and the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) wrote to the Payson Roundup that we wanted to share with you.  This position is applicable to ALL our survivors.  C.O.P.S. will always stand by our survivors and hold accountable media outlets that report details that are socially unacceptable.   

We are pleased to annouce that the photos from the original article has since been changed.

Sincerely,

Jan Blaser-Upchurch, President of C.O.P.S., Arizona Chapter

 

Link to C.O.P.S. Editorial: http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/2014/jun/24/story-continues-trauma-officers-and-their-families/

In 2013, Arizona lost two police officers.  However, on the tragic night of September 21, 2013, we easily could have lost a third hero – Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Meeske.  Surviving police families and co-workers empathized with the Meeske family after hearing about his critical incident.  Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) sent prayers to all of the officers involved and their loved ones, with the hopes another family would not lose a father, brother, uncle, or child.  Seth’s encounter with a criminal should be a reminder to everyone that any day, officers face danger every day and sometimes…the worst happens and they do not go home to their families. 

Surviving police officer’s families and co-workers gasped with shock after viewing the article entitled “A Night of Deadly Choices” in the Payson Roundup on June 13, 2014.  The photos of a blood splattered patrol vehicle and the brazen criminal’s body flooded police survivors with emotions, bringing us back to the moments we were notified our hero was killed and would never come home again.  Our families forever are reminded of our tragic losses from media, police reports, memorial sites and sometimes legal trials.  Police survivors can sympathize as to how Officer Meeske and his family might feel after reading the article. 

C.O.P.S. Arizona encourages the Payson Roundup to show greater respect to our officers and their families, especially after a critical incident or line of duty death.  Though the pictures were probably posted with good intentions, it can negatively impact the trauma police officers, their families and co-workers experience.  Media should be our partners to assist in rebuilding the lives of a police family and not further traumatize that family.

C.O.P.S. Arizona thanks Officer Meeske for his continued call to protect and serve.  We send positive thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

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Special Thanks to

Usual Suspects MC, Arizona Chapter
Arizona Homicide Investigators Association
CBS 5 AZ KPHO
Arizona Peace Officer Memorial Board
Jim Click Automotive

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