The Reality of Losing a Law Enforcement Officer

by Suzie Sawyer
Executive Director, Concerns of Police Survivors

Reality shows are certainly proving to be the latest rage in America. People are moving in together, competing to lose the most weight, tripping the light fantastic, singing their way onto CD’s, and vying for the hand of beautiful people. Americans are certainly hooked on reality television.

We settle back each night to watch these shows and during the year also watch many law enforcement shows that depict the line-of-duty death of an officer. There may be a short clip of the officer’s funeral in the show, and then life in the precinct station returns to normal. In most cases, the officer is written from the script and never mentioned again.

While the media will be able to catch their snippets of footage of grieving family members at the May 13 Candlelight Vigil at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the May 15 National Peace Officers Memorial Service on the West Front of the United States Capitol, the “real life” scenarios will play out at the National Police Survivors’ Conference.

Any media representative who chooses to come to the National Police Survivors’ Conference on either May 14 or May 16 will learn that each and every day the memory of the fallen officer is very much a part of their surviving family and the affected co-workers. In reality, they can never be written out of the script. At the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center Hotel, 5000 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA, 1,400 family members of America’s fallen law enforcement officers will be attending the National Police Survivors’ Conference. They will share their stories of loss and coping with other law enforcement survivors. For many of these families, this is where the healing process will begin.

Concerns of Police Survivors begins its 25th year of service to America’s fallen law enforcement survivors on May 14. The organization now represents over 15,000 surviving families across the United States and has an international affiliate in the United Kingdom.

Knowing that survivors of 2007 will be exceptionally emotional from seeing and/or hearing the name of their loved ones at the May 13 and May 15 services, C.O.P.S. will offer media contacts access to more “seasoned” surviving families to relay the “real life” scenarios of the day-to-day struggles of law enforcement survivors.

For more information on C.O.P.S. or the National Police Survivors’ Conference, visit or call (573) 346-4911.