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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.

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.

Phoenix, DPS, Arizona and National Police Memorials
Honor Guard Remembering the Fallen

During the month of May, agencies from all over Arizona celebrated the lives of fallen police officers nationally and throughout the state of Arizona.  In 2013, Arizona lost two heroes – Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz and Department of Public Safety (DPS) Officer Timothy Huffman. 

On April 30th, 2014, the second annual Phoenix Police Memorial brought together hundreds of residents, police officers, family members and friends as they celebrated and remembered the lives of 37 fallen heroes.  The ceremony was led by Chief Daniel V. Garcia at their memorial, where the name of Officer Daryl Raetz was added. 

On Monday, May 5th, the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) & DPS remembered 29 officers killed in the line of duty during Arizona’s Police Week.  That same day, they unveiled the plaque of DPS Officer Timothy Huffman on the DPS memorial site.  Year after year, AHPA is dedicated to ensure our heroes are never forgotten with this annual ceremony.  Governor Janice Brewer, Director Robert Halliday, AHPA President Jimmy Chavez spoke at the service and accompanied by aviation fly-overs, music by retired DPS officers and approximately 30 delegates from Arizona.

Later that evening, AHPA President Jimmy Chavez was the master of ceremony over the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial.  The state recognized all Arizona officer’s whose lives were ended too early.  This year, the state memorial added the names of DPS Officer Timothy Huffman, EOW: 5-6-2013; Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz, EOW:  5-19-2013; along with a historical name, Deputy Sheriff  William Dobson, Pinal County Sheriff’s Department, EOW: 3-1-1912.  There are currently 286 Arizona fallen Officers’ names on the State Memorial.  Both Governor Janice Brewer, Attorney General Tom Horne spoke at the event.  Aiden Tirado, the surviving daughter of Buckeye Police Officer Rolando Tirado, EOW: 5-1-2011, was the keynote speaker.  Aiden was eloquent in describing life forever changed after losing her father, she talked about her grief, the retreats and the hope she feels since her loss. Police agencies from the state showed up in recognition of all Arizona fallen heroes.  A tremendous team of survivors from the Arizona Peace Officers Memorial Board, including board members of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), make this event possible, year after year.  This year, we were pleased to have APS as the sponsor of the Survivors Dinner, which was held on the Senate Lawn prior to the Memorial ceremony. 

The next day, May 6th, 2014, a ceremony was held honoring three DPS heroes in Yuma.   With the help of AHPA members, local businesses and the community, a new memorial site was revealed at District Four Office.  A beautiful wall and memorial markers were constructed to eternally remember DPS Officer Louis Cochran, Sergeant Michael Crowe and Officer Timothy Huffman.  Surviving family members were present to commemorate the special event. 

C.O.P.S. Arizona was pleased to assist both the Raetz and Huffman families attend National Police Week events this year.  In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. Currently, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world converged on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. 

Both the Huffman and Raetz families were able to participate in weeklong events through C.O.P.S. to help aid in their grieving process and learn they are not alone, as they were joined by families from across the nation who also lost a hero.  Arizona C.O.P.S. hosted a brunch for Arizona survivors’ and guests who were attending NPW, this was a great time to connect and plan for the week.  Surviving children were able to participate in the NPW C.O.P.S. kid’s camp for some fun and to make new friends.  Survivors also attended the 26th Annual Candlelight Vigil on May 13th held at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.   Then, on May 15th, 112 fallen officers were honored at the 33rd Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, during the event each family placed a red carnation on the FOP Wreath as their fallen officer’s name was read.  Vice President Joseph Biden gave a heartfelt message as the keynote speaker.  After the Memorial Services the FOP Star Wreath was transported to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Wall and eventually to the host hotel.  The names of DPS Officer Timothy Huffman and Phoenix Officer Daryl Raetz joined the 19,981 fallen law enforcement heroes on the national memorial wall this year.

Locally and nationally, C.O.P.S. Arizona will always remember all Arizona officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  If you could not attend the events, pictures and media clips are on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/copsarizona). 

Media clips:

May 19, 2014: Valley Focus (KSLX, KUPD, KDKB, KDUS & KAZG) with Trustee Christie Lynch

May 11, 2014: Yuma Sun Fallen DPS officer's family travels to Police Week

May 9, 2014: KTAR Fallen Arizona Officers to be honored at National Police Week

May 5, 2014: 3TV, AZfamily.com - Arizona Highway Patrol Association & DPS Fallen Officer Memorial

April 28, 2014: Morning Scramble AZ TV Concerns of Police Survivors interview with Pat McMahon

More articles from National Police Week and Concerns of Police Survivors

 

 

Upcoming Events

Thu, 10/16/14
Sat, 12/6/14

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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