NLEOMF forms COVID-19 task force for officer safety, wellness
The task force will work to ensure any officer who dies of COVID-19 in the line of duty is included on the memorial wall
By Suzie Ziegler
WASHINGTON — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund on Wednesday said it has formed a COVID-19 task force to promote COVID-19 officer safety and wellness. This comes in response to a surge in line-of-duty deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release.
The task force aims to provide law enforcement officers with resources and data related to the pandemic. Task force members include law enforcement professionals, health experts, and National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum staff researchers.
The task force will provide guidance on researching and vetting law enforcement deaths related to COVID-19. Preliminary data compiled by the organization indicates that COVID-19 will likely be the number one cause of line-of-duty deaths in 2020.
"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."
A function of the task force is to investigate every law enforcement fatality attributed to COVID-19 in the United States to ensure that the officer is honored on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, according to the release. 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 task force collects and reviews the following documentation provided by the law enforcement agency of the fallen officer:
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.
If the officer is approved for inclusion on the memorial, the agency and surviving family will be notified in writing of the Name Committee’s decision. They will also receive a formal invitation to the Candlelight Vigil which is held on May 13th during National Police Week.