Surge in line-of-duty deaths prompts enhanced commitment to research on coronavirus impact on law enforcement community.
Washington, DC— The National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum has formed a COVID-19 task force to promote COVID-19 officer safety and wellness in response to a surge in line-of-duty deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 task force will augment the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum’s efforts to provide law enforcement officers with resources and data related to this global health pandemic. Task force members include law enforcement professionals, health experts, and National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum staff researchers with proven leadership and commitment.
In addition, as the leading authority on law enforcement line-of-duty deaths, the task force will provide guidance on researching and vetting law enforcement deaths related to COVID-19. Preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum for 2020 indicates that COVID-19 will likely be the number one cause of law enforcement line-of-duty deaths.
“Making it safer for those who serve is one of the cornerstones of our mission,” said National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund CEO Marcia Ferranto. “As first responders, law enforcement officers are highly vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19 virus. Regrettably, the law enforcement community has already experienced more than 150 fatalities this year.”
An important function of the task force is to compile, acknowledge, and investigate every law enforcement fatality attributed to COVID-19 in the United States and to ensure that the fallen officer is rightfully honored on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The task force reviews all COVID-19 related cases to ensure each case meets established criteria for inclusion on the Memorial. Once vetted by the task force, the case is forwarded to the Memorial Names Committee for final approval. Once approved, the fallen officer’s name will be engraved on the Memorial wall and read aloud at the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum Annual Candlelight Vigil during National Police Week in May.
The COVID-19 task force collects and reviews documentation provided by the law enforcement agency of the fallen officer, including:
- Information that details how the officer may have contracted the coronavirus through direct exposure while conducting their official duties and a timeline of events prior to the officer becoming ill.
- A copy of the death certificate, with the cause of death listed as COVID-19.
- A copy of the autopsy, if performed, and any other medical documents related to the case.
The agency and surviving family will be notified in writing of the Name Committee’s decision to approve the officer for inclusion to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. They will also receive a formal invitation to the Candlelight Vigil which is held on May 13th during National Police Week.