Today – June 17, 2011 – is the first observance of a national day of prayer for law enforcement officers. From 9 a.m. until noon, people around the globe will be taking a moment to pause and hold these brave women and men in their thoughts and prayers in gratitude for the difficult work they do for their communities.
The day of prayer was initiated by Facebook supporters of Wives Behind the Badge, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization “dedicated to providing resources and emotional support to law enforcement families and serving as a positive voice for law enforcement in the community.”
As all of us know all too well, danger is ever-present in the lives of law enforcement professionals. And, if you saw this week’s season opener of “Memphis Beat,” you had a bit of an inside look at the multi-generational effects of line-of-duty death in police families.
According to statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there have been 88 law enforcement officer fatalities this year to date, a 22 percent increase from last year. Of those fatalities, 38 were from gunfire, a 46 percent increase from last year.
“The statistics have a great deal of us worried about the state of things in this country,” Chelsea Spencer, President of Wives Behind the Badge, said.
“Line-of-duty deaths are, sadly, on the increase this year. A lot of them are violent deaths,” she said.
“The National Day of Prayer will hopefully bring some focus to this and get people committed to supporting their law enforcement officers.”
Spencer said the day of prayer was initiated in April with the thought of “let’s try and see what works.” This week, more than 26,000 people were supporting the project.
“We’re gaining 1500 people a day. It’s snowballed,” she said.
Wives Behind the Badge was founded in 2006 by Rose Winick, the wife of a police sergeant in southern California. The organization began as an online support forum designed to help police wives share advice and support. Today, Wives Behind the Badge has become a force dedicated to helping police families nationwide with resources and emotional support through programs such as Families Behind the Badge, scholarships, Kids for K-9s and H.A.L.O.S. (Helping Aid Lost Officers’ Survivors).
For more information about Wives Behind the Badge, go to wivesbehindthebadge.org.