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The Fallen Project: A documentary honoring officers

Sergeant Tom Marchese is leading a small group of working cops to make a two-hour feature film paying homage to America’s police officers killed in the line of duty

A police officer is killed in the line of duty in this country every 53 hours on average. Each time this occurs, the affected community comes to a grinding halt. Media coverage is abundant. Donations, flowers, and cards pour in and law enforcement professionals from the four corners of the map converge for the memorial service.

During this time, the devastated families are kept busy with a monumental list of tasks.

Then, the attention stops. It becomes eerily quiet as those not directly impacted go back to their daily lives. A small group of working cops in California aim to change that by producing The Fallen Project.

This noble undertaking first came to my attention via a social media recommendation. Once I viewed the website and began to get a sense of what they intend to accomplish, I set out to discover all I could about the film and its producers.

Sergeant Tom Marchese is a working cop in Soledad (Calif.) who also has a background in photography.

Tom first conceived the idea in the aftermath of the 2009 tragedy in Oakland, California, when a paroled felon and rape suspect murdered Officer John Hege and Sergeants Mark Dunakin, Daniel Sakai, and Ervin Romans.

Inspired and motivated by the idea that he could not only honor these local heroes, but pay justice nationwide to others like them, he decided to make his dream a reality. Tom is the driving force behind the project, with a small team supporting him.

To date, they have raised approximately $60,000 to fund the film. The costs associated with this undertaking are funded solely by contributions from individuals, police organizations and private businesses. The monetary support already pledged, and those pledges still to come are the tangibles however. The intangibles are what will produce this documentary.

In speaking with Tom, I realized what he needs more than anything is awareness and support for the project. The more people who are made aware, the more people will become emotionally attached to the film’s success; and rightfully so, I speak from experience.

When the dust settles, the end result will be a 120-minute film paying homage to America’s front line warriors killed in the line of duty. The release date is set for 2014 with theatre premieres on each coast, as well as feature releases in each of the communities highlighted in the film. It will also be available in DVD/Blu-Ray format.

Tom’s target audience is multi-faceted. Obviously, one goal is to increase awareness amongst the law enforcement community. An even loftier goal is to increase public awareness of the danger police officers face daily and the sacrifices made by those in uniform as well as by the families who support them.

To this end, Tom is working to bring premium cable channels on board once the final product is available for release.

Tom’s hope is that the film will be interpreted individually by each viewer and therefore the meaning and impact will differ person to person.

It’s been said that all great things began with an idea. As a community of professionals, we can make this idea a great thing.

I have no reservation in attesting that Sergeant Tom Marchese seeks only to expose the truth about what we do day in and day out. The truth about the sacrifices we make as well as those sacrifices made on our behalf.

On the project homepage (and embedded below) you can view an emotional trailer capturing the essence of the film can easily be found.

Please pay tribute by hitting the ‘like’ button.

If social media is not your bailiwick, tell your partners. Spread the word and help turn that eerie quiet into thunderous applause for a long overdue cause, being brought to fruition by working professionals just like you and me.

Be safe out there brothers and sisters.

Ken Hardesty served seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps before deciding to pursue a career in law enforcement. He has served continuously for fourteen years in large California agencies. His assignments include Detention, Patrol, Field Training Officer, Specialist Officer, Academy Recruit Training Officer, Basic Academy Coordinator and In-Service Training Officer. Ken is California POST certified to teach Firearms, Defensive Tactics, Chemical Agents, First Aid/CPR and Patrol Response to Active Shooter. Additional certifications include, National Rifle Association Tactical Shooting Instructor, Surefire Low Light Instructor and PepperBall Instructor. He is a court-certified expert in Illegal Weapons, and serves as a subject matter expert for the State of California in the areas of Firearms and Chemical Agents. Ken teaches Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings for the Department of Homeland Security as well as Leadership and Firearms/Chemical Agents Program Evaluation for the California Commission on POST. Ken is Charter Member and on the Board of Advisors for NLEFIA. Ken enjoys spending time with family and is the proud father of two.

Contact Ken Hardesty.