Consider it the largest garage sale in the world.

And all of the money goes to help rebuild the shattered lives of those who lost their loved ones in the line of duty.

I’m sure you’ve heard of C.O.P.S. by now – Concerns of Police Survivors. It’s Law Enforcement Today’s charity of choice. 

Founded in 1984, they have chapters in all 50 states and now take care of well over 50,000 survivors. 

That’s more than 50,000 people who lost wives…husbands…parents…sons…daughters.

For those of you who have heard of or attended National Police Week, you’re probably already familiar with them – they are one of the groups that organizes and runs it.

Now they are asking us all for our assistance in helping even more people… by getting rid of old junk we don’t want anymore.

And we LOVE what they’re doing.  It’s the world’s largest online garage sale.

Here’s how it works.

All across America, people are using Facebook marketplace, eBay and other only platforms to sell stuff they don’t want.  This allows them to do good at the same time.

How It Works

People will list things they are looking to sell online, just as they always have. People all over the country will take the crap they want to get rid of and list it on the site of their choice.

But with their post, they’ll include this in the description:

One man’s trash is another’s treasure.  But instead of paying me for this item, we’re selling it for a good cause.

When you arrive to pick up the item, instead of giving me money, you’ll donate the amount of money we agree on to Concerns of Police Survivors.  C.O.P.S., is a non-profit organization that helps rebuild shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line-of-duty deaths.

Here’s the link: https://www.copsgaragesale.com

So to simplify: post the stuff that’s sitting around collecting dust on Facebook or Craigslist.  Then, before the buyer gets to bring home their new treasure, you have them make the donation right online through this link and show proof that they did.Boom.  Your generosity just helped make someone’s life immeasurably better.

Why We Stand Behind C.O.P.S.

Love.  It’s that “thing” you can’t touch.  You can’t quantify.   You can only feel.

It’s what we all live for – and it’s what so many have died for.

It’s at the very core of C.O.P.S..

It’s the family that nobody wanted to be a part of… the organization that keeps growing… that’s helping rebuild shattered lives daily.

We’ve watched this incredible organization operate on an incredibly lean budget to help save lives.

In 2009, they served 25,231 members.  Now, only ten years later, that number has more than doubled.

C.O.P.S. recognizes they cannot replace their loved one.  But they are there to help them find a way forward.  They are there to walk them through this painful journey… hand in hand… surrounded by people who have been in their shoes.  To equip them with tools and resources and support.

To lose a parent when you’re just developing… growing into the person you’re going to be as an adult… it’s devastating.  The moments and years that follow will determine everything for that child.

C.O.P.S. is there for them with powerful programs and other children who have experienced the same heartbreaking loss… and are now shepherding them through that same journey.  They are there providing support through countless programs for all survivors from spouses and parents to coworkers and siblings. 

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

Here’s a little more info about the organization from a previous article we shared about COPS:

It’s amazing the changes we go through in life – especially once you get married and have kids.

You go from being invincible to being terrifyingly mortal… seemingly overnight.

When I said, “I do”, it was no longer about providing for myself.  And when I laid my eyes on our first child, I knew it was no longer about providing for just my wife and I.

Mortality is never an easy or a comfortable topic to talk about or even consider.  But it’s something we all think about when we consider the legacy we want to leave behind.

When I’m gone… what will my family remember?  Did I do more good than harm?  Did I touch lives?  Did I save lives?  Will my family be taken care of?

Having interviewed thousands of police officers over the years, I know without a doubt it’s something that goes through all of their minds.

police officer deaths

(Photo courtesy Juan Beltran)

Helping share the stories of countless wounded officers, I know it’s something that they are intimately familiar with.

But hugging…holding… praying with the survivors of officers killed in the line of duty – that’s something entirely different.

Our family at Law Enforcement Today has been incredibly blessed to get to know the team at Concerns of Police Survivors – or “C.O.P.S.” over the past year.  We selected them as our “charity of choice” not just because we vetted them… but because we’ve seen up close and personal the work they do.

The people they’ve touched.

The lives they’ve saved.

In case you’ve never heard of them… you need to learn their name.

(Logo from www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org)

(Logo from www.concernsofpolicesurvivors.org)

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 50,000 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. 

Fox and Friends and COPS

Todd Piro from Fox and Friends interviews the Executive Director of C.O.P.S.

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. is helping kids of all ages learn to cope with loss. (Concerns of Police Survivors)

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.

COPS Kids Camp

We met them last year at the National Conference on Law Enforcement Wellness and Trauma. 

C.O.P.S. recognizes that every law enforcement officer is subjected to crisis and tragedy as a part of their job.  They see the most unthinkable acts of criminal behavior in our society.  But are we doing a good job helping officers navigate these events over a course of a twenty to thirty-year career?

Law Enforcement United Unity Tour

Through blood, sweat, laughs, tears, cold and rain, these men and women honored their heroes and supported survivors by riding their bikes over 250 miles into D.C. today. After presenting flags to families, they presented a check for $740,000 to C.O.P.S.! The lives you all are changing is incredible and congrats on your 10th anniversary ride!

We continue to see officers suffering from PTSD in growing numbers.  Divorce rates continue to be higher for officers than the general public, and tragically, too many officers choose to end their own lives each year.

The conference offers a much-needed focus on officer wellness and the need to pro-actively address the cumulative stresses that can occur over an officer’s career.  It’s for all law enforcement officers (active or retired) nationwide, and is recommended for peer supporters, counselors, police chaplains and law enforcement spouses/significant others.  Law enforcement survivors are also welcome to attend.

It was at that conference that I interviewed my first 30 survivors.

police week

Concerns of Police Survivors. (Photo courtesy Cathy and Javier Bustos)

Let me tell you something. For people who have been through absolute hell and back after losing their officers, these are some of the greatest warriors I’ve ever met.  Their strength… it’s something that can’t be described.

Take, for example, my friend Susan Moody.  Susan’s husband was killed in the line of duty.  She then had to go tell her one and 3-year-old daughters that daddy would never come home.  Click here to watch her full story.

Susan Moody

I thought I was tough. I was wrong.  I’m not.  I lost it. I have three little girls.

Susan… my God.  What an incredible woman.  What fortitude.  What resilience.  She’s now helping shepherd other survivors through that same journey.

That’s a power that, in my belief, comes from three places.

  • God.  I know, I know.  In this politically correct world, we’re not supposed to talk about God.  But let me tell you something – I have seen His hand at work through this incredible organization.  I’ve seen a strength in these survivors that can only be described as supernatural.  I’ve cried with them… and I’ve prayed with them. And I make no bones about it.
  • Inside.  I really believe that these survivors have a strength in themselves that they were never aware of… until they were forced to find it. 
  • C.O.P.S. It’s an organization that doesn’t care about fame or glory. They operate on a shoestring budget and pump every penny possible into helping save the lives of these warriors.

We all have flaws in our organizations.  And C.O.P.S. has one big one.  It’s only fair to call it out – because I believe that the only way to grow is to recognize our own shortcomings.

Their flaw isn’t that they aren’t as aggressive as many organizations in soliciting money.  It’s not that they tend to avoid the spotlight and the public relations that could flood them with donations.

It’s not that so many of the very personal stories of their employees that would explain their “why” remain hidden.

It’s that they think they have a bit of an impact on the greater world… and they’re wrong.

There’s the old saying that a butterfly that flutters it’s wings on one side of the world can cause a hurricane on the other.  The idea that we’ll never be able to see the impact of the work we do… but that it adds up.

COPS Executive Director

I’ve watched the team at C.O.P.S. run themselves into the ground, going from event to event.  I’ve been with them when they’ve taken calls late at night and early in the morning.  I’ve seen them hold strangers and cry.

I’ve seen them wrap their arms around survivors and pray with them.  I’ve seen them break down in the still of the night when the incredible weight of what they carry becomes too much… then I’ve seen them wipe the tears from their eyes and keep going.

I’ve had survivors tell me that they are alive today because of C.O.P.S.  I’ve met the children of their survivors.

I’ve been on the street with police officers who are cops today because their parent was killed in the line of duty… and C.O.P.S. was there to help them rebuild shattered lives.

 card for cop from kid

I’ve watched some of those police officers go on to save lives of children.  And those children will go on to touch countless lives.

Concerns of Police Survivors isn’t a butterfly flapping its little wings, ultimately causing enough air displacement to create a hurricane.

C.O.P.S. IS the hurricane. They’re just too damn humble to see it.

I hope and pray that you’ll join me in supporting this incredible organization.  Because while we’re all working on creating our own legacy… this is a group that’s ensuring that the legacy of our bravest warriors carries on in their survivors.

Each of us is that butterfly.  Maybe it’s a small donation.  Maybe it’s sharing this article.  But together… we can help support this incredible force. Please… join me.

God bless America.

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