Australian National Police Force Sergeant Researches Help for Survivors

On July 9, 2008 the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund had a special visit from Officer Stephen Cooke, a 25-year veteran of the Australian National Police Force, currently assigned to the Sidney Police Department.

What led Officer Cooke to the NLEOMF? Sergeant Cooke had applied for an Australian Grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. Through their grants, the Trust assists Australians who are interested in researching support for victims, evaluating how other countries help their survivors, and determining how these programs could help Australian citizens affected by crime. After three years of applying for the grant, Sergeant Cooke was successful. He was awarded the grant and he traveled abroad with an important mission – find ways to help the survivors of police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

The NYPD Human Resources department called the NLEOMF after they had met with Sergeant Cooke regarding New York state programs for survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty. They thought that the NLEOMF could help the Sergeant further his research and provide him with other contacts.

While in Washington, Sergeant Cooke met with Berneta Spence, NLEOMF Director of Research; Martha Wood, a survivor; and, Suzie Sawyer, Executive Director of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), to discuss Memorial and survivor organizations. During a two-hour conference call, Ms. Sawyer spoke about the creation of C.O.P.S. as well as the different programs for survivors of fallen law enforcement officers. Mrs. Wood was there as well, sharing her story about the loss of her husband, Barry.

NLEOMF Chairman Craig Floyd met with Mrs. Wood and Sergeant Cooke before the Sergeant returned to Sidney by way of Vancouver, Canada, and England.

Before he left, Sergeant Cooke presented Ms. Spence with a plaque, decorated with the Australian National Police Force badge, to express his appreciation to her and to the NLEOMF for their help in furthering his research and helping the survivors of police officers killed in the line of duty.