WASHINGTON D.C. — As thousands of people honor and mourn the country’s fallen officers during National Police Week, a group of Hoosiers is helping to make an incredibility difficult time for survivors a little easier.
The members of the Indiana State FOP Critical Incident Memorial Team dedicate their time at Police Week to serving the survivors of Indiana’s fallen officers. For the entire week the team works to address any of the survivors' needs and helps to make the often emotional experience of Police Week a little easier.
“Every survivor who comes out here for the first time deserves the same things, the same honors, and the same respect, and the same assistance to get through this week,” Team Chairman Joe Hamer said.
Hamer says the process begins the second survivors step off their planes. They’re greeted by an honor guard and then escorted to their hotels. The team also helps to coordinate trips to the Law Enforcement Memorial and candlelight vigil, and provides help with every experience a survivor encounters during the week. Police Week typically comes with a flood of emotions for survivors, so the team serves as a support system to help them get through the week.
“This week can really set the tone for the rest of the life of the survivors, in a very good way, a positive way. But, it can also be negative if it’s not done correctly,” Indianapolis FOP President and team member Rick Snyder said.
Snyder adds that not every state has a team as comprehensive as Indiana’s. He adds that some years, team members stand in as representatives for survivors from other states when they don’t have anyone to be there for the toughest moments.
“Imagine if we would do that every day. If everyone in our state would do that every day, we wouldn’t have these issues, we wouldn’t be losing our officers,” Snyder said.