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C.O.P.S. & National Police Week

Written by Neumann, Madeline

This May, the law enforcement community will gather in Washington, D.C. to celebrate National Police Week (NPW). It is here that thousands of officers and their families will join the survivors of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty to honor and pay tribute for the supreme sacrifices these officers made in 2013. 

NPW, which is May 11-17, is an emotional week for survivors. However, in addition to the emotional Candlelight Vigil and National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, survivors attend the National Police Survivors’ Conference hosted by Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).  There truly is no other organization that can do what C.O.P.S. does for the law enforcement community. We have been helping survivors rebuild their shattered lives for 30 years. 

During this conference they will have the opportunity to attend many sessions dealing with all aspects of traumatic grief. With 1,800 survivors expected to register for NPW, they will make connections and bonds with other survivors who will understand their grief and loss. These friendships will last a lifetime.

On May 14, C.O.P.S. will be observing this hallmark anniversary during a celebratory dinner at the Hilton Alexandria at Mark Center. For the past 30 years, C.O.P.S. has provided survivors and agencies the resources to deal with the traumatic aftermath from an officer’s line-of-duty death.  From counseling and peer support to education, C.O.P.S. has been in the forefront leading the way to ensure our survivors have what they need to heal and that agencies have what they need to address all of the traumas of law enforcement within their agency. 

Since 1991, C.O.P.S. has trained about 20,000 officers at its three-day “Traumas of Law Enforcement” training. At this training, agencies learn the importance of proper death notification, funeral protocol, benefits, critical incident stress management, suicide awareness, and so much more. 

Since 1984 we have counseled thousands of survivors through our programs during the National Police Survivors’ Conference, as well as our Hands-On Programs throughout the year. C.O.P.S. is proud of our history and honored to continue to take care of law enforcement for the next 30 years.

 

Madeline Neumann is the National President of Concerns Of Police Survivors, Inc. and may be reached at madelineneumann101@gmail.com.

 

(SIDEBAR)

C.O.P.S. Welcomes New Executive Director

 

Observing its 30th anniversary of service to the surviving families of America’s fallen law enforcement officers, Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) has welcomed a new Executive Director. She has taken the reins to lead the organization that represents more than 32,000 survivors of officers who have died in the line of duty.

 

Deputy Chief Dianne Bernhard of the Columbia, MO, Police Department retired after 21 years of service and became the new Executive Director of C.O.P.S. in March 2014.  Deputy Chief Bernhard is most proud of her work as a patrol officer, creating a camp for kids, a Crisis Intervention Team, a leadership academy, and restructuring and managing a $19 million budget. 

 

She was also a member of the Columbia Police Mounted Team and came to know C.O.P.S. through the line-of-duty death of a co-worker, Officer Molly Bowden, in 2005.  She has been aware of the great care that C.O.P.S. gave to the officer’s family ever since Bowden’s death. 

 

Bernhard said, “The relationships I have built with officers from around the country and citizens of my community are important to me and I look forward to creating new relationships through the C.O.P.S. organization.  I am honored to be part of this exceptional organization that has rebuilt the shattered lives of so many law enforcement survivors all across the country.”

 

At the February 2014 National C.O.P.S. Board Meeting, C.O.P.S. National President Madeline Neumann said, “She is a proven leader with exceptional skills and a true understanding of law enforcement and law enforcement survivors.  The Board is looking forward to working with her as she continues to move the C.O.P.S. mission into the future.”

 

The C.O.P.S. organization is headquartered in Camdenton, MO.  Suzie Sawyer, a 20-year Camdenton resident, founded C.O.P.S. in 1984 in the basement of her home in Maryland.  C.O.P.S. moved to Camdenton in 1993 after her husband retired from the Prince George’s County, MD, Police Department.  Sawyer, who retired from C.O.P.S. in 2011, returned last May to serve as Acting Executive Director for one year until a national search could be conducted for a new lead employee for the organization. 

 

Sawyer said, “In reality, I am turning over my life’s work, C.O.P.S., over to Dianne Bernhard.  I am confident Dianne will take C.O.P.S. to a new level, building on a strong foundation that came from years of input from many who have experienced the worst tragedy within law enforcement…the surviving families.  I will do whatever I can to ensure that C.O.P.S., under Dianne Bernhard’s strong leadership, will continue to bring healing, love and life renewed to America’s law enforcement survivors.”


Published in Law and Order, Apr 2014

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