Never Forgotten: A Remembrance to those Wounded
By Makou Lin
As law enforcement officers continue to protect the community and Lake Sumter State College, they risk their lives to ensure a safe environment. But, who protects the officers when they, themselves, fall, become wounded, or unable to serve? Created by officers for officers, the Wounded Officers Initiative is a non-profit public organization who seeks to develop and establish national programs to “address the long-term needs of wounded law enforcement officers whose line of duty injuries have prevented them from continuing their law enforcement careers” (Mission).
Crystal Pierce, a local supporter of the Wounded Officers Initiative and a LSSC student, knows how dangerous the law enforcement field is and how important it is to support our officers. With violent crimes occurring every 25 seconds in the United States (2016 Crime in the United States), officers must respond and react quickly. However, as experienced by Crystal’s family, during these dangerous events officers are still human and can become victims.
The Wounded Officers Initiative realizes the need for assistance towards these wounded and disabled officers in the line of duty. Often, wounded officers lack in receiving adequate therapeutic aid and financial aid in trauma relief and income stability; two main points the organization aims to solve. Because wounded officers cannot continue their careers, they must survive off their disability pensions. These disability pensions could be as low as 50% of the officer’s annual income (City of Sanford Police Officers' Retirement System Summary Plan Description), such percentages cannot support a family.
The Wounded Officers Initiative provides various support systems for helping wounded officers, such as their support lines, legislative proposals, and public assistance. Through the organization’s five key goal acronym, CAARE; stands for counseling, advocacy, awareness, recognition, and education, the public can learn more about the organization’s goals and progress. An essential element of the organization is providing therapeutic support for the wounded officers. Through their BlueLine Support™ program, wounded officers are given peer support by trained officer-based affiliates in a safe and confidential setting. Protected by HIPPA and supported by trained police-oriented mental health professionals, the program aims to counsel wounded officers and help them through their times of need.
In raising awareness and recognition of wounded officers, the Wounded Officers Initiative dedicates itself to honoring the sacrifice performed by officers. The organization hosts an array of public events where the community can meet and support their local, wounded officers and hear their stories. Annual events such as the Wounded Officers Initiative Annual Gala or the “I CAARE For Law Enforcement™” Ride are perfect places for the community to learn more and give help to the Wounded Officers Initiative’s efforts. Follow the Wounded Officers Initiative on social media and visit the woundedofficersinitiative.org to keep up to date on various events and programs. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn to learn more about their available outreach events.
The Wounded Officers Initiative is an expanding nation-wide organization aimed to aid wounded officers who are unable to continue their careers, due to injuries from the line of duty. These officers who sacrifice themselves for the community for which they stand for; to support them is never to forget them. To further reach out and support the efforts of the Wounded Officers Initiative, visit their contact and sponsorship page. They accept donations and funding, with 100% of proceeds used directly towards achieving the organization’s goals. Know a wounded officer? Submit them on the Wounded Officers Wounded Heroes page. Support them in their time of need, “So Their Sacrifice is Never Forgotten” (Motto).
2016 Crime in the United States. 2016. Chart. 17 August 2018. <https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/figures/crime-clock>.
City of Sanford Police Officers' Retirement System Summary Plan Description. City of Sanford Police Officers'. Sanford: The Board of Trustees of the City of Sanford Police Officers' Retirement System, 2014. Document. 17 August 2018. <http://www.sanfordfl.gov/Home/ShowDocument?id=10718>.
Mission. 2018. Web Page. 18 August 2018. <http://www.woundedofficersinitiative.org/mission---vision.html>.
Motto. 2018. Article. 18 August 2018. <http://www.woundedofficersinitiative.org/mission---vision.html>.