Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) Arizona assisted survivors that lost an officer in 2015 to attend National Police Memorial Week in Washington D. C. from May 11-17, 2016. Surviving Arizona families & co-workers attended memorial events and received grief support from an organization they never wished to be a part of.
Attending National Police Week for the first time was the family of Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety Officer Alex Yazzie, the parents of Nicholasville (KY) Police Department Officer Burke Rhoads, who are Tucson area residents, and the one-year-old son of Chandler Police Department Officer David Payne who was killed in 2014. Many Arizona survivors from past years returned for the memorial events to honor their hero. C.O.P.S. National Police Week information can be found at www.nationalcops.org.
There were 122 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty in 2015, and their names will be engraved in a memorial with more than 20,000 existing names. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, as of today, 32 officers have died in the line of duty in 2016 — 16 by firearms, 12 in traffic and four from other causes. On average, between 105 and 203 officers die in the line of duty each year, 50,000 officers are assaulted in the line of duty each year and 14,000 officers are injured in the line of duty each year.
“National Police Week can bring out many emotions; and it is during the memorial that the grieving process starts for many survivors,” says Marie Dryer-Kircher, President of C.O.P.S. Arizona and surviving former spouse of Arizona Department of Public Safety Reserve Sergeant Mark Dryer. “The first memorials were overwhelming to me, but it was nice to know I was not alone. It is a powerful week and provides an outlet where the families, friends and co-workers of police officers killed in the line of duty across the nation can unite, share personal stories, concerns and triumphs with others who share their unique situation.”
Arizonans are encouraged to participate in C.O.P.S.’ Project Blue Light during National Police Week. C.O.P.S. adopted the idea of displaying a blue light as a way to honor the officers who serve and protect while remembering those who have died in the line of duty. Project Blue Light has grown steadily as a way of remembering our departed law enforcement officers across America.
C.O.P.S. Arizona financially assists survivors to attend National Police Week and to attend retreats. If the public would like to help assist fallen officer families and co-workers, donations are always accepted via C.O.P.S. Arizona’s website at www.copsarizona.org. C.O.P.S. Arizona is a 501(c)3 and receipts are automatically sent with every contribution. Additionally, Arizonans can pay respects to fallen officers year-round by purchasing a Fallen Officer specialty license plate for their vehicle. The C.O.P.S. Fallen Officer specialty plate can be purchased through ServiceArizona.com.
For more photos and highlights from National Police Week, go to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/COPSArizona.