Police officers themselves, who are repeatedly exposed to all levels of stress and trauma, will assuredly need support in various forms from one source or another. But what about their spouses, significant others, family members - including their moms and dads or brothers and sisters - friends, co-workers, or other loved ones? Are they not affected, in their own way, to the stresses and traumas that their police officer loved ones carry with them? Of course they are.
Thankfully, there are a number of support organizations that exist for the police officer as well as for all others affected. In this section, you will find some of the most dedicated and devoted help groups. Many have online forums where voices can be expressed or outreach programs specially designed for groups or individuals.
help and information
Survivors of Blue Suicide Foundation, Inc. addresses the emotional and psychological needs, that arise from the loss of a loved one by suicide in the law enforcement profession. The family and co-workers of any active law enforcement officer or officer retired for one year or less who has died by suicide in the United States and its territories may use the services of Survivors of Blue Suicide Foundation. Their vision is to provide all survivors and co-workers of law enforcement suicide with enduring support while working with the agency to provide respect and dignity to the families and law enforcement community.
Concerns of Police Survivors. C.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members. Today, C.O.P.S. membership is over 37,000 survivors. Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and affected co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty according to Federal government criteria. C.O.P.S. is governed by a National Board of law enforcement survivors. All programs and services are administered by the National Office in Camdenton, Missouri. C.O.P.S. has over 50 chapters nationwide, including Maryland, that work with survivors at the grass-roots level. Click here for the Maryland chapter website.
National Alliance for Law Enforcement Support (formerly Wives Behind the Badge). NALES is an all-volunteer, national non-profit. Their membership is made up of a Board of Directors, Staff, Auxiliary Committee members, online forums’ members, and volunteers from throughout the United States and the world. NALES is dedicated to providing resources and emotional support to law enforcement officers and their families and to serving as a positive voice for law enforcement in the community.
National Police Wives Association. NPWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting law enforcement spouses and families and providing resources to those new to the law enforcement community. NPWA is a group of unique women, in a unique situation, and are doing something positive with it. They are a "sisterhood bound by the badge".
Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation. The Badge of Honor Memorial Foundation mission is to assist the survivors and departments of officers who have been killed in the line of duty to obtain all the statutory benefits that may be available to them and to train law enforcement departments on casualty planning, preparing them in advance of a line-of-duty death.
Wives on Duty. Wives on Duty is a nonprofit ministry designed for wives of police officers and all first responders in need of support and encouragement through the word of God. Wives on Duty assists police wives to see God’s intended vision for marriage. Police wives will have a prayer partner, not receive judgment, and feel safe. They provide information for any local chapters as well as a place to submit prayer requests.
OfficerDown. OfficerDown.US is a nonprofit with a mission to provide a place where people can reach out to help those who have spent their lives helping others. To protect and serve isn’t just a job and those who dedicate their lives to live by the code are our family. OfficerDown is a crowdfunding website that states it is up to "us to come together as a 'crowd'" to support the officers, the families and the departments who sacrifice so much to help others and preserve our community every day, every night.
HopeWell Cancer Support. Hopewell offers a broad range of programs and activities, including support groups, educational seminars, exercise classes, and social activities that allow people to access a community of support that is unmatched in the Baltimore metropolitan area. All of HopeWell’s programs are offered free of charge and are open to people at any stage of their journey through cancer.
Cancer Support Community. As the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, the Cancer Support Community (CSC) is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. CSC achieves its mission through three areas: direct service delivery, research and advocacy. The organization includes an international network of Affiliates that offer the highest quality social and emotional support for people impacted by cancer, as well as a community of support available online and over the phone.
The Compassionate Friends. When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.
There are two residential retreats, specifically created for first responders, in the United States where police officers can go for treatment and training. The On-Site Academy is the East Coast facility and is located in Massachusetts. The West Coast Post-trauma Retreat is found in Northern California. Both locations are well respected and very effective programs. Below is information on each of them.
On-Site Academy. The On-Site Academy is a non-profit residential treatment and training center for critical incident stress management. They serve emergency service workers who are in distress. Their program is for all law enforcement personnel who are themselves temporarily overwhelmed by the stress of their jobs, what they have seen, and what they have been through. They help you get back to the job or to a new beginning and quality of life with the tools necessary to master critical incident stress. The On-Site Academy has a skilled staff of licensed clinicians, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Advanced trained peers, national trauma consultants, and additional support staff from police, fire and EMS. Scheduled groups involving all phases of the debriefing process, TFT (Thought Field Therapy), Alpha-Stim, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and substance abuse/addictions treatment are used. Both EMDR and TFT have been shown to significantly reduce trauma symptoms.
West Coast Post-trauma Retreat. WCPR is a program of the First Responder Support Network (FRSN), staffed by experienced first responders, mental health clinicians, and chaplains, specifically trained in trauma recovery. All volunteer their time while participating in the retreats. The WCPR program is for first responders whose lives have been affected by their work experience. It is a residential program that provides an educational experience designed to help current and retired public safety servants, recognize the signs and symptoms of work-related stress including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in themselves and in others.