- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 12, 2009



This week marks National Police Week (“Budget cuts funds for slain officers,” Nation, May 8). This is a time when law enforcement officers, families of fallen officers, professionals in the criminal justice system and citizens converge in Washington to pay tribute to police officers who have died in the line of duty during the past year. Sadly, 133 officers were killed in 2008, and their names are added to the wall at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in the District.

For many people, this is an emotional and sad time, in which lingering grief resounds. Yet it also is a period when everyone reflects on the true meaning of public service. The contributions and sacrifices officers make on a daily basis when they put on their uniforms and badges are never fully recognized or appreciated until the news of an officer’s tragic and senseless death makes headlines.

Recently, however, the 2009 spring semester victimology class at George Mason University recognized that police officers can be the victims of crime. In honor of National Police Week, the students honored the life of Sgt. Richard Findley of the Prince George’s County Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty in June 2008. They paid tribute to his wife and two children by hosting an event. The class and professor voluntarily gave Mrs. Findley and her children a gift of $500 and a scrapbook filled with meaningful items contributed by the entire class.

President Obama’s desire to cut benefits for slain police and safety officers is disturbing. Though the argument focuses upon claims of an anticipated decrease in officer deaths, that supposition cannot be forecasted with any degree of accuracy because life on the street is not only continuously risky but fluid as well.

As the GMU victimology class learned, both emotional and financial support are vital to the families of slain officers. Any attempt to diminish funding only adds to the traumatizing impact on families and survivors. Mr. Obama would be wise to reconsider this idea in light of the dangerous world in which we live and the unrelenting threats officers continue to face.


Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University


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