About Garden State C.O.P.S.
Garden State C.O.P.S. (GS C.O.P.S.), is a New Jersey Chapter of the national organization Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.). Our main goal is to provide resources to assist in the rebuilding of the lives of surviving families and co-workers of law enforcement officers killed in the line-of-duty. C.O.P.S. minister to survivors’ needs by extending a helping hand to stabilize their emotional, financial, and legal well-being. Others suffering the same loss can be of service to new survivors during their periods of helplessness. 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.
The term “survivors” refers to the family, significant others, and co-workers that are left behind when a police officer is killed in the line-of-duty. These are the members of C.O.P.S..
Our particular chapter deals with all law enforcement agencies in the state of New Jersey, except the New Jersey State Police, which is the responsibility of another C.O.P.S. chapter; New Jersey State Police Survivors of the Triangle.
When there is a line-of-duty death in our state, GSCOPS immediately reaches out to the fallen officer’s family to let them know there is support available for them when they are ready. GSCOPS helps them through the funeral, as well as answers any questions they may have about benefits. Many departments have never had a line-of-duty death before; so we help the officer’s department with information on benefits. GSCOPS holds regular meetings to offer emotional peer-support. GSCOPS is also active in legal and legislative issues which affect line-of-duty survivors.
Funding from outside sources enables GSCOPS to offer survivors professional help through meetings, training for those survivors who are ready to actively support new survivors, and training to police departments on how to handle a line-of-duty death. Unfortunately, many departments have no protocol on what to do when the tragedy of an officers death strikes. In these instances, it is harder for the agency to help the surviving families and affected co-workers get through what could be the most difficult crisis of their lives.
Every year “National Police Week” is celebrated during May. It is a time when fallen officers are honored and remembered throughout our country. National Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.) hosts bereavement seminars during National Police Week. The National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service is also held in Washington, D.C., and is hosted by the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police. The Candlelight Vigil, which is hosted by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, is also a major Police Week Event. GSCOPS contributes funds to cover the expenses for new surviving families so that they may attend the seminars and services that are held in Washington D.C.
GSCOPS also funds survivors’ travel expenses to the many retreat weekends which National C.O.P.S. offers throughout the year for the survivors of law enforcement officers who have died in the line-of-duty. The programs include: “C.O.P.S. Kids” Camp (ages 6-14), Outward Bound (ages 15-20), Adult Children’s Retreat, Spouses’ Weekend, Parents’ Retreat, Siblings’ Retreat, In-laws Retreat, and Significant Others.