Back row, left to right: Suffolk County Trustee Kevin Stewart, Board Advisor Gilbert Lee, Nassau County Trustee Eileen Rafferty, New York City Trustee Charina D'Aiuto, Support Services Olga Bauer, New York City Trustee Jacqueline Hodge, Suffolk County Trustee James Ciano, Support Services Robert Bauer, Executive Director Dennis Jones. Front Row left to right: Secretary Muriel O'Neill Worst, Chapter President Leslyn Stewart, Chapter Vice President Susan Ciano and Treasurer Catherine Lee. Not pictured: Chaplain Rabbi Joel Eisdorfer.
Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.) provides resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty as determined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Public Safety Officers’ Benefit (PSOB), National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) or Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) criteria. Furthermore, C.O.P.S. provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.
Thank you for visiting our new website. The Concerns of Police Survivors, (C.O.P.S.), is an organization whose mission since 1984 has been to “rebuild shattered lives” of the surviving family members and distraught co-workers of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Though the group draws strength from the collective experience and empathy of its members, C.O.P.S. quite frankly would prefer not to increase in number. Still, reality dictates there will always be a need for associations such as C.O.P.S. as statistics reflect on average 160-180 law enforcement officers are killed every year in the line of duty. C.O.P.S. uniquely helps by providing emotional support and hands on healing programs needed to cope with a sudden or violent death. C.O.P.S. is a not for profit 501(c)(3) national organization with 54 chapters throughout the United States. Sadly, membership today has grown to more than 30,000 survivors. Thus, in response to this emergent need, we have chartered the Metro New York Concerns of Police Survivors chapter. At present, our web site is still under construction. We are making an effort to present you with our entire spectrum as soon as possible. At this point we can provide you with information regarding our chapter launch and the link to the National C.O.P.S organization page to familiarize yourself with the hands on programs and training C.O.P.S. offers. In the meantime, you can reach us at email@example.com. If you are not familiar with us or this is your first contact, please feel free to send us a note. We would be pleased to hear from you! Please let us know what your needs and questions are and we will be more than happy to help. C.O.P.S. has NEVER and will NEVER solicit via phone for donations. If you receive a call like this, please contact your local police department and local media immediately. Direct them to call Sara Slone, Public Relations Manager, at (573) 346-4911.
“Each year, more than 100 officers are killed in the line of duty. Their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss,” said Leslyn Stewart, wife of Detective Dillon Stewart, who was killed in the line of duty on November 28, 2005. “C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives.”
Leslyn was only 29 at the time of the tragedy; Detective Stewart was 35. They were raising two small children, a 6-year-old and a 5-month-old infant. “I was in pieces. Broken. Totally ruined,” Leslyn recounted. Detective Stewart was also survived by his mother, grandmother and eight siblings. “When someone is killed in the line of duty, so many people are affected by it. Not just the wife. Not just the children.” She is referring to the affected co-workers and extended family of the loved one who is tragically taken away.
Detective Stewart and his partner were attempting to stop a vehicle for a traffic infraction when the driver fired numerous times at the officers. Although critically wounded, Detective Stewart, who was the RMP operator, continued to pursue the gunman until the shooter abandoned his car. Detective Stewart’s actions were instrumental in the capture of the perpetrator several hours later. Sadly, Detective Stewart died a short time later.
On October 16, 2012, Mrs. Stewart launched the Metro New York chapter of the national organization of C.O.P.S. – Concerns of Police Survivors – at a ceremony held at the NYC Police Museum. Their mission is to “provide resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and affected co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty as determined by Federal criteria. The organization also provides training to law enforcement agencies on survivor victimization issues and educates the public of the need to support the law enforcement profession and its survivors.” C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor’s level of distress is directly affected by the agency’s response to the tragedy. This is why C.O.P.S. 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.
Established in 1984 with just over 100 members, today, the non-profit organization has more than 15,000 members that include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and affected co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty, and has over 50 chapters nationwide.
The organization offers programs for survivors that include scholarships; peer-support at the national, state, and local levels; counseling and camps for children; programs geared for young adults; special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, in-laws, and co-workers, as well as trial and parole support.
“The city does a wonderful job. But they don’t have the resources to go to the siblings or co-workers,” said Eileen Rafferty, whose husband, Detective Patrick Rafferty, was shot and killed in the line of duty with his partner, Detective Robert Parker, on September 10, 2004. Mrs. Rafferty’s husband was also a young man at the time of his death. He was 39 and left behind three small children, ages 4, 9 and 12, his mother and five siblings. Mrs. Rafferty is the Nassau County Trustee of the Metro New York chapter of C.O.P.S.
Both widows acknowledged the unwavering support and dedication of the Police and Fire Widows & Children’s Benefit Fund and Unions that provided vital support during their tragic losses, and are glad they will now be able to give back to those who helped them during their loss.