With funding from the COPS Office, one of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s (NLEOMF) premier programs—Recently Fallen Alert (Alert)—will be enhanced and expanded. Originally developed as a public service in 2011, the Alert program electronically notifies both law enforcement agencies and their community stakeholders of a reported officer line-of-duty death, serving as a means to disseminate fatality information to its vast nationwide audience very quickly. The information conveyed includes the officer’s name, department, rank, brief circumstances of the fatality, a graph showing the Memorial Fund’s top-line breakdown of causes, and a photo of the officer if available. Once published, the Alert is integrated into the Facts & Figures section of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website and draws from that data to help users understand how each officer death fits into the overall fatalities picture for the year. The Recently Fallen Alert program currently reaches more than 5,000 subscribers; now, with new funding from the COPS Office, the Memorial Fund will expand and upgrade this important initiative to serve a greater audience throughout the United States.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., honors nearly 20,000 local, state, federal, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while keeping our nation’s citizens safe and secure, dating back to the first recorded police death in 1791. During the past 10 years, 1,559 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty, an average of 156 deaths per year, one death every 57 hours. There were 163 law enforcement officers killed in 2011 and 121 in 2012. Preliminary numbers as of December 31, 2013 show that 111 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial officers lost their lives in the line of duty in 2013. Because of partnerships like the one between NLEOMF and the COPS Office, as well as the combined work of other public, private, and federal partners who have joined together to focus on officer safety, the hope is that this trend of fewer lives lost will continue.
Understanding that an officer fatality can have a tremendous effect not only on the policing organization but also on the entire community, the Alert program quickly disseminates important and potentially life-saving information (e.g., emerging trends such as officers killed in ambush-style attacks) to law enforcement agencies and their community stakeholders—information that will strengthen both the bond and the partnership between the community and its police. Because this form of information dissemination not only creates awareness but ultimately increases both officer safety and public safety, the goal of the Memorial Fund is to have as many law enforcement agencies in the United States as possible participate in the Alert program and receive the informational e-mails on officer line-of-duty deaths. By enhancing and expanding this already successful initiative, more law enforcement agencies and their community partners will be able to receive both timely and accurate information on officer fatalities.
Armed with the Recently Fallen Alert information, law enforcement agencies will be able to expand their community policing partnerships. Local law enforcement agencies will be informed in a timelier manner of the general circumstances surrounding a line-of-duty death; as a result, subscribers will be able to pass on important information or potentially life-saving warnings to their officers. Community members and public safety stakeholders will also benefit from these timely notifications, as elected officials can make informed decisions relating to officer safety. In addition, groups of concerned citizens who receive the Alerts may mobilize resources to assist in local law enforcement efforts, while individuals who receive the Alerts can use them as a call to action to provide a friendly safety reminder to their loved one. Both law enforcers and their community stakeholders can use the information to develop or support preventive programs such as wellness initiatives, or work together to acquire resources to provide proactive crime programs aimed at keeping both officers and citizens safe and secure. By initiating these types of community policing programs that increase officer safety or reduce line-of-duty deaths, both police and their community partners benefit.
The COPS Office has made officer safety a priority. Through its partnership with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and funding of the Recently Fallen Alert program, law enforcement agencies and their community stakeholders will have yet another opportunity to work together to improve public safety and, hopefully, to reduce the number of officer line-of-duty deaths.
To receive free Recently Fallen Alerts on officer line-of-duty deaths, visit www.LawMemorial.org/RecentlyFallen.
To learn more about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, our efforts to honor our fallen heroes, and our work to improve officer safety and reduce the number of line-of-duty injuries and deaths, visit us at www.LawMemorial.org.
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