Sgt. Thomas Marchese is on a mission to raise awareness of fatalities among police officers nationwide.  Marchese, a member of the Soledad, California Police Department, knows what he’s talking about.  Marchese serves as a tactical team leader, a defensive tactics instructor, and a critical incident manager.  All of these functions involve or address high-risk law enforcement functions.

He is passionate about investigating the 60% increase in police deaths in the line of duty during the last two years.  “We need to talk about this.” Marchese says.  “We need to not only mourn and remember fallen colleagues, but to also find out why we are currently experiencing this exponential increase. Why, I want to know – why!”

Rather than simply typing “RIP” on a memorial page, Marchese has received permission from his department to spend the next year creating a film called, “Fallen,” using his own vacation time.  He plans to talk to family members and colleagues of fallen officers, but to also ask critical questions of town, county, city, and other officials about shrinking public safety budgets.   The film is being financed by members of law enforcement and their supporters.

“When we have budget cuts in the police family, we aren’t talking about running out of staples or Post-It Notes.  Agencies are shutting down and high-risk communities are laying-off police officers in areas which can least afford it. These budget cuts are leading us to cut corners on training, skimp on equipment, and the result is a death, not just inconvenience.”

Sgt. Marchese is putting his expertise in cinematography to work as he personally oversees filming of this project so close to his heart.  “The police deaths in the Seattle area and in Oakland really hit me hard.  I’ve spent a lot of time in Seattle and Oakland is nearby.  I had to do something.”  Marchese refers to the deaths of four Oakland police officers as well as the deaths of four officers in a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington, all in 2009: “I want to put a face to these statistics and a face on those who are left behind.

What can Law Enforcement Today readers do?  They can spread this link on every social media outlet they can find.  That’s a start.   LET staff knows that you all care passionately about fallen officers and their families, supporting them with your words and prayers.  Now go one step further.

Watch the Fallen video via the link below.  Please consider making a donation.   If every cop in the country donated 21 cents, the film would be funded. If each LET fan who reads this contributes just $5, or even just $1 via Pay Pal, Sgt. Marchese will be able to get this project off the ground.  Donate to give fallen officers a voice as this documentary film will raise awareness and save lives.

The Fallen project is giving away incentives for donations, such as DVDs, Blu-Ray, tickets to the premier, your name or dedication to a loved one or partner in the credits.  Please see the link and use the contact email for any questions about these incentives.