Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 12:40
As we pause to honor our law enforcement officers during National Police week this may, Let us think about those who have gone before us not because they were killed on the job, but because they took their own lives because of the job. These are the ones we don't talk about or honor because their death wasn't a "Line of Duty" death. That makes it not seem so honorable. Yet their service to their communit was outstanding. Their careers were marked with commendations. They put their lives on the line every single day. Yet something troubled them deep inside. They couldn't seek help, that would make them appear weak. They couldn't tell their partners, cops just keep everything inside. Some are stronger minded than others, they can live with it, some can't.
We need to spend as much time and money on their mental health as we do on all the other training the rceive on a regular basis. We need to make them never fear asking for help. To never worry that their careers will be infringed upon, that someone will find out and they will be thought of as a mental case, or worse. We need to let them know we care.
SUICIDE: Not something anyone really wants to talk about. I know first hand the ramifications of this ugly word.
We want our cops to be there for us at a moments notice, night and day, no matter what.. And the ARE! But do we ever put a moments thought into what life is like for them? The reason i believe psychological counseling should be mandatory for all law enforcement officers is simple. Their daily routine consist of all the ugly horrors of life. They see it, they smell it, they breathe it. They take it with them wherever they g. They are too tough to ask for help and they dont want anyone to know that they hurt. Its too embarrassing. Historically, police officers have been ridiculed for getting help. That would make them "appear weak" . Anyway, that's what my husband told me. and "It will ruin my career".. So instead of getting help, he put a .380 to his chest and pulled the trigger.
We expect our cops to put their lives on the line every day on the job, we expect them to be up to date with all their training. Know the newest technology to solve crimes, drive the best equipped vehicle, carry the most reliable equipment. yet, we never once think about the mental health. We ask them to work shifts that take an extra 10 years off their life, we never think about their emotional health.
Why shouldn't their minds be as sharp as their knowledge? Why shouldn't they feel comfortable asking for help?
Suicide, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, domestic violence are all things that are widespread among law enforcement. Does anyone every wonder why?
This is one of the most stressful careers a man or a woman can choose. There should be safeguards in place so that these servants of our country can be saved. If one life can be saved because of my writings, because of my attempts to have a law passed, then my work will be worth it.
No one wants to find their life partner in a pool of blood on the living room floor. I didn't, but it happened. I watched my husband die right in front of me and there was nothing i could do. I will never know that if he had gotten help this would not have happened. However, I know that he didn't get help because he was afraid. I want every law enforcement officer in this country to never be afraid again.
Rebecca M. Donahue
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:26
Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:10
My name is Matthew Barlow. I am an American heavy metal vocalist who has performed with the bands ICED EARTH (1994-2003 and 2007-2011) and PYRAMAZE (2007-2008). I have performed vocals on six studio albums, two live albums /DVDs, and multiple compilation and tribute albums. I am also a law enforcement officer.
I grew up in the town of Georgetown, Delaware, which is about 80 miles east of Washington D.C. In 2004, I was given the honor of becoming a sworn officer with the Georgetown Police Department. My goal to become a police officer started shortly after the events of 9/11/2001, the day that affected most every American and a large portion of the world. On that morning, I was preparing to get on a tour bus. ICED EARTH was about to start out for California to meet up with JUDAS PRIEST as support for their U.S. tour. For reasons that were all too apparent, that tour never happened. My feelings and thought processes took a definite turn that day, but not in the way others may have. I simply began to think of the life that my wife and I wanted, but had not yet realized; the children that we wanted, but did not yet have; and the understanding that this precious time we have on Earth is finite and fleeting. I thought that there must be a way that we could have the family we wanted, and I could serve my country and community as my family had.
When I was given the opportunity to attend the Delaware State Police Academy in September 2003, I considered it an absolute honor. When I graduated from the academy in February 2004, it was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. Since then, it has been my privilege to work with the dedicated and proud men and woman of law enforcement. That dedication, love, and loyalty was never more evident to me than after my brother officer, Patrolman Chad E. Spicer, was killed in the line of duty on September 1, 2009. The outpouring of support for Chad’s family, in both law enforcement and civilian community, was tremendous. I know that the support for Chad’s daughter and family will continue in his honor.
It is my hope that the work that Fallen Blue is doing will help the families of our fallen brothers and sisters. These men and woman that have passed, though not in the line of duty, dedicated their lives to the betterment and security of their country and community. They too, deserve our respect and support for the families they leave behind.
Cpl. Matthew Barlow
Last Updated on Sunday, 08 January 2012 18:00
May His Protecting Wing Be Over You Through All The Storms
Over the last couple of years, I have thought a lot about Pascal J. Hall, a young man I considered a close friend, even though I knew him for a little more than six months. Pascal lost his life in a motorcycle accident, which occured moments after he left our training center. August 31, 2009 was one of the longest days in my young life. Sure, I have been at funerals for close family members, like my Uncle Tommy, and my father's parents, but it was something about the day we spent at St. Patrick's, in Washington, D.C., with Pascal's body, and how we carried his flag draped coffin to the hearse, and slowly sent him on his way home.
I won't forget Pascal's sister breaking down as we got closer to the hearse; the tearful scream she let out as she rushed to the casket and said goodbye to her brother one last time. There were other things too, that I will not forget either. The church was filled with friends, family, and co-workers, many of them paying respect to an Officer that they only knew briefly. There were a couple of people though, that really stood out in my mind. Rachael, my future wife, was there sitting with our class through the ceremony and standing by our side. Two of our firearms instructors from training were also with us, as it was their tearful hugs after the service that they gave us that I wont forget. It was also my first time dealing our Ceremonial Honor Guard, and it was comforting to have them guide us through the whole ceremony.
The ceremony was the best it could have been for Officer Hall, as I am sure he was smiling, looking down at us. As everyone left one by one, however, I had this sense of emptiness fall upon me. I had already come to terms of losing Pascal, but it was seeing his family, his mother especially, that left that feeling inside me, when it hit me that this was going to be 'it', in terms of people knowing who Pascal was as a police officer. Our department did what they had to do to make sure the family was taken care of, but after all the dust was settled, I realized that this would be it. Officer Hall didn't die in the line of duty, so he wasnt entitled to a lot of the recognition that officers recieve when they give their life on duty, and that upset me.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial, in Washington, D.C., is one of the most humbling and somber places you could visit. To see and feel all the names engraved on the granite panels is something that everyone should experience. All these men and women gave their lives in the line of duty, and here their names are immortalized, and rightfully so, for future generations to remember their heroics. Pascal's name wouldnt be engraved here, along with thousands and thousands of other men and women who wore a badge.
All of these questions were running through my head. Is there a group that keeps track of officers who are killed off-duty, like the Officer's Down Memorial page? Is there a memorial for the officer's killed off-duty? Would it matter if they were on the job for a week or twenty years? If the officer is killed in a car accident or commits suicide is there anything set-up to help the families financially? If the officer is killed off-duty, what isn't the family entitled to benefits? I just sat there the weeks after, wondering why it was so hard to help these families and to build a memorial for those that lost their lives off-duty.
I had to do something for the countless officers who lost their lives like Pascal, and for the families who are financially left with a burden. Fallen Blue is something I am very proud of, and honored to be involved with. While we are still young and growing, I look forward to do whatever we can to honor these officers like Pascal and to help their families. There will one day be a physical monument, where the names of those officers will be engraved, and we will help put the officer's children through school. I will do what I can to ensure that Fallen Blue accomplishes all these goals.
While it may have been the last physical day I spent with Pascal, it was the first day we spent starting Fallen Blue. We have some incredible people here at Fallen Blue, starting with none other than my wife, Rachael, our National Spokesperson, Twisted Sister's AJ Pero, and the rest of our Board of Directors, Izvor, John, Scott, and Tyler. We can't do this without your support.
Keep watching over us, Officer Pascal J Hall.