Since President John Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 in 1962, May 15 has been National Peace Officers’ Memorial Day, and the calendar week containing May 15 has been designated National Police Week. National events are held in Washington, D.C., for National Police Week to pay special tribute to the fallen heroes who've lost their lives in the line of duty and provide support for the surviving family members and affected co-workers. Law enforcement survivors will travel from across the country to honor their loved one at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, and to find strong peer support at the National Police Survivors’ Conference where they can be with others who truly understand.
In 2010, 158 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the U.S. They leave behind grieving families and affected co-workers who all become members of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), an organization they hoped they would never need to join. There are no dues for the organization’s members; the price paid is already too high. C.O.P.S. is a national nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to help rebuild the shattered lives of America’s law enforcement survivors.
During National Police Week, C.O.P.S. National Police Survivors’ Conference provides healing in a safe environment for adult survivors–a place where there will be others who truly understand the day-to-day struggles they’ll face trying to recover from a line-of-duty death. On May 14 and 16, law enforcement survivors will find tremendous peer support and hear experts in the field of loss and recovery who can help them cope with their grief and find hope for the future after the death of their officer.
C.O.P.S. also has a full agenda during National Police Week for the surviving children of fallen officers. Counseling sessions are held at law enforcement academies in the DC area. The children have a great time with law enforcement mentors and actually perform the tasks their parent handled while serving as a law enforcement officer. This role playing gives them a greater understanding of the “call to duty” that drove their parents to serve their community and to, ultimately, render the supreme sacrifice.
While honoring and remembering our fallen officers is vitally important, Concerns of Police Survivors’ mission is to help the officer’s family and affected co-workers learn to live again–something C.O.P.S. truly believes their fallen officer would want.
C.O.P.S. is comprised of 15,000 law enforcement families, all of whom have lost a loved one in the line of duty while serving the law enforcement profession. Unfortunately, that membership continues to grow as, on average, 140-160 law enforcement officers are killed every year in the line of duty. C.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 by 110 law enforcement survivors at the first National Police Survivors’ Conference.
National Police Week 2011: Sunday, May 15 through Saturday, May 21
Please note that some of the dates for national activities actually come before the official dates of National Police Week 2011.
Thursday, May 12: Early arrival day.
Friday, May 13: Official arrival day, National Police Week Check-In and Annual Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Saturday, May 14: First day of National Police Survivors' Conference and C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens Activities.
Sunday, May 15: The National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the West Front of the United States Capitol.
Monday, May 16: Second day of the National Police Survivors' Conference, C.O.P.S. Kids/Teens Activities and Hoedown at the Hilton.
Tuesday, May 17: Official departure day.