FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
I'm writing this month's editorial note while on a plane returning from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference that was held in Denver. The IACP Conference is a great place to find the latest and greatest in equipment, and it provided a chance to meet many of our readers. To those who stopped by and visited at the booth, thank you. (I especially want to acknowledge the two Colorado State troopers who told me they look forward to reading my column every month. That made my day!)
One of the highlights of this conference was having breakfast with two very special people, Suzie Sawyer and Jennifer Thacker, the executive director and national president, respectively, of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). All of the folks at Law Officer have a huge amount of respect for this organization because its personnel are truly the unsung heroes supporting those left behind when an officer loses his or her life. The organization s mission is to assist in rebuilding the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and provide training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues. More than 15,000 families are members of COPS, a membership that doesn't cost any money because the price already paid has been far too high. Each year, during National Police Week, COPS puts on a series of programs for families that have been devastated by the loss of a loved one that died in the line of duty. Throughout the year, COPS puts on seminars and offers support to grieving families or troubled coworkers.
Virtually every officer in this country knows about the National Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the ongoing funding efforts to support the memorial and build the new museum. I have great respect and appreciation for the great work done by the Memorial folks and I always make a point of visiting the wall when I am in Washington. However, I ve come to realize that COPS sometimes gets lost in the shadow of the National Memorial when it comes to funding. Some officers mistakenly believe monies that go to the National Memorial somehow also support COPS, and that s just not the case. COPS is a charitable organization and depends on donations to continue its work. I encourage each of you to consider supporting this wonderful group. (For more information on COPS, visit www.nationalcops.org.)
Shining the Light on a Great Vendor
Every year at this time, Law Officer recognizes a vendor or manufacturer that s gone above and beyond in supporting the law enforcement community. The award is called the Gold Badge of Service, and we do this because recognizing good work encourages others to do the same. Past recipients have included 5.11, Panasonic Computer Solutions and Blauer Manufacturing. I won t go into the details of why each of these was chosen, but there have been two consistent traits among our award winners: a willingness to support law enforcement and a demonstrated history of listening to practitioners to develop products that meet the needs of those in the field.
This year, the award goes to Streamlight Inc., one of the premier manufacturers of lighting devices for public safety. Streamlight has shown its willingness to support the police family in a very tangible way by donating to COPS for more than 10 years. These donations total well over $300,000, plus an incredible amount of product that goes out every year during COPS events. Suzie Sawyer, one of the founders of COPS, told me that Streamlight has made an incredible difference to the organization.
Streamlight came to COPS when we were expanding. The need was great, and there wasn t a lot of hope, and there wasn t a lot of money to make it happen, she said. Not only did Streamlight help us meet the need, but they have helped us in so many other ways, including helping us find other resources. [Its] employees always participate in our events, and it s really been the whole Streamlight family that s been helping COPS.
Streamlight was also one of many invaluable partners when Law Officer organized Project Inspire, a relief effort that supported hundreds of officers after Hurricane Katrina. Streamlight has repeatedly shown that it listens and delivers truly the signs of a reliable partner and traits that law officers really appreciate.
I want to congratulate the great folks at Streamlight, the recipient of our 2009 Gold Badge of Service award, and thank them for the great support they have shown to law officers and their families. Well done!
Dale Stockton, Editor in chief