Editor note: The incredible story done by Fox and Friends can be found lower down.
Washington, D.C. is known for its’ memorials. In fact, there is only one monument in the city, the Washington Monument. Everything else is a memorial.
Plenty of these memorials have names etched in them. The Vietnam Wall Memorial comes to mind. If you have a chance to visit the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, you will find benches, each with a name of a person killed at the Pentagon that day. But only one memorial continues to add to the list of names.
Every spring, during Police Week, new names are added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This year, according to the NLEOMF, the 2019 Roll Call of Heroes contains 371 names of fallen warriors that will be added to the memorial.
As part of this year’s Police Week, Fox News’ Todd Piro had an opportunity to speak with some family members of law enforcement officers lost in the line of duty.
“The word powerful does not go far enough to describe this experience. It was an incredible honor to represent our Fox and Friendsteam and meet some incredible people in the process,” Piro said in the piece, which started with the Blue Honor Gala, a benefit for Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.).
At the C.O.P.S. Survivors Conference, attendees wear one of two badges: blue to represent a returning family member, yellow for those who lost a family member in the line of duty in the last year. If you are a frequent reader of Law Enforcement Today, some of these names will be familiar to you.
Corporal Ronil Singh of the Newman (CA) Police Department, was killed in December of 2018 when he was shot during a traffic stop of a suspected drunk driver, who was not in America legally.
Anamika Chand-Singh, the officer’s widow, said:
“Our day starts in tears and we go to bed in tears again. My child was 5 months old when this event happened. It could have easily been prevented. It is still unbelievable, and we still feel like he is going to come home.”
When asked about what it means to survivors such as Singh’s family, for organizations like C.O.P.S. to try to make things easier, she said:
“As a survivor, to see the amount of people coming out here showing their support and honoring officers is just amazing. Whatever I have needed, they have been there to support.”
Piro also spoke with Alyssa Cordova, the widow of Officer Jesus Cordova of the Nogales (AZ) Police Department.
Cordova died on April 27, 2018, when he was shot by a suspected car-jacker.
The father of four was 44-years-old.
“I asked him, ‘are you ever afraid of what you do? He said, ‘you know what, I’m not afraid of dying, I am afraid of what will happen to you and the kids if I die.’ And here we are, surviving, because that’s what we are: survivors.”
Piro concluded the piece by talking to Lanie Weigand, the 14-year-old daughter of Sgt. Michael Weigand Jr., of the Latimore Township (PA) Police Department.
Sgt. Weigand was killed while riding his motorcycle as part of an escort. A driver lost control of his pickup truck and struck Weigand head-on. His End of Watch was Sunday, September 14, 2008.
Lanie was 3 at the time of her father’s death.
Piro asked her: “
You were only 3 years old when your dad died, you have been coming to C.O.P.S. for a while now. What is that role like, helping people who have just endured that horrible loss in the last year?”
“A word of advice to them, just keep pushing through, because you know, it’s not going to get easier, but we are all here together, and we are all here to help each other. Our fathers, our mothers, our sons, our daughters, they are taken away from us and we can’t do anything about it. All of us together, I feel like it makes us stronger because of the sacrifice that they made and the ones that they left behind.”
Piro told the hosts of Fox News how blown away he was by Lanie’s response. He also said:
“…again, we speak for a living, and I can’t find the words to describe what yesterday meant.”
The anchor team then discussed the ill-conceived perception of law enforcement in our society today and the difficulty it places on them:
“Not only in people paying the price with their lives because of the lack of respect by people out there, but it’s harder and harder to recruit, because of how we take law enforcement for granted, and in many sense, go out of our way to condemn them.”
Piro agreed with that sentiment.
“100% right Brian, you hear that echoed through what these people are saying throughout this conference, throughout this week. It’s two-fold. One, we need to protect our officers and honor them. But two, don’t demonizing these folks.”
This memorial is the only one that continues to grow. It is our fervent hope and prayer that it does not continue to grow at such an alarming rate. We must, as a society, return to a mindset of trust, respect and admiration for those amongst us who make the choice to protect and serve us at all costs. Sheepdogs are a rare breed, and we must do everything we can to love and support them.
Thanks to C.O.P.S. and what they do to support and assist survivors of our fallen heroes.
To those who have served or are currently serving in a law enforcement capacity, thank you doesn’t quite cover the gratitude we feel.
To those who are survivors, please know that the loss of your dad, mom, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother or sister is not only memorialized by being etched on a wall in D.C., it is also carried with many of us in our hearts and our minds. And your sacrifice does not go unnoticed. You are loved. We grieve with you, and you are in our prayers daily.
The video of the Fox and Friends interview at National Police Week can be see here.
Author Note: Law Enforcement Today is proud to support Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) as our “charity of choice” for supporting the survivors of fallen officers. We hope you’ll consider doing the same.
Here’s what they are all about:
Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss. C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives. There is no membership fee to join C.O.P.S., for the price paid is already too high.
C.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members. Today, C.O.P.S. membership is over 48,000 survivors. Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and co-workers of officers who have died 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 that work with survivors at the grass-roots level.
C.O.P.S. programs for survivors include the National Police Survivors’ Conference held each May during National Police Week, scholarships, peer-support at the national, state, and local levels, “C.O.P.S. Kids” counseling reimbursement program, the “C.O.P.S. Kids” Summer Camp, “C.O.P.S. Teens” Outward Bound Adventure for young adults, special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, extended family, and co-workers, trial and parole support, and other assistance programs.
C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor’s level of distress is directly affected by the agency’s response to the tragedy. C.O.P.S., therefore, offers training and assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide on how to respond to the tragic loss of a member of the law enforcement profession. C.O.P.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. C.O.P.S. programs and services are funded by grants and donations.