Supporting the men and women in blue
SUFFOLK COUNTY—On Saturday, Jan. 9, all residents are encouraged to participate in National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). The initiative, started by the nonprofit organization Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), marks the second year of a coordinated effort to recognize police officers nationwide for their continued contributions to society.
Citizens can contribute to the cause in a variety of ways, including wearing blue clothing in support of law enforcement, sharing positive stories about police in letter form or on social media, or organizing local events or rallies in support of officers.
“In light of recent negativity directed toward law enforcement nationally, there is a need to show law enforcement officers that our citizens recognize the difficult and sometimes impossible career they have chosen in public service to us all,” read an official statement by C.O.P.S.
C.O.P.S. began in 1984 with 110 individual members. Today, membership consists of over 30,000 families and 50 chapters nationwide. Members include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others and affected coworkers of officers killed in the line of duty. All of its programs and services are funded by grants and donations.
Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and coworkers are left to cope with the tragic loss. C.O.P.S. provides resources to help them rebuild their lives.
Sue Ciano of Bayport, vice president of the local Metro New York Chapter of C.O.P.S., is helping to spread the word about both L.E.A.D.
“We’re trying to reach out and get it started as a movement,” said Ciano, who contacted the Suffolk County Police Department. “As we’re growing and expanding, we’re looking for volunteers to give their time.”
Ciano is the widow of the late Suffolk County Police Officer Glen Ciano. Ciano, 45, an officer at the Second Precinct in Huntington, was killed on Feb. 22, 2009 at 4 a.m. after being struck by a drunk driver while responding to assist another officer making an arrest at a traffic stop on Commack Road. He had spent 22 years on the force.
In the wake of her husband’s death, Ciano said that she initially felt her life was falling apart. It wasn’t until she decided to attend a C.O.P.S. national retreat with other surviving family members of fallen officers that she found a new sense of purpose and hope for the future.
“I didn’t know anything about it, but I just know I needed help,” said Ciano. “What I got from the experience was that I wasn’t on my own. I realized that I will survive and that there was much hope for my life to get better.”
Since then, Ciano has dedicated her time to assisting other families and coworkers of newly deceased officers finding themselves in the position she once was in.
“I want to give back to the families that are walking in the same shoes I was and help them cope,” said Ciano. “I absolutely adore the people I’ve met. I keep in touch with some of them and I consider them part of my family.”
To learn more about Concerns of Police Survivors and Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, visit www.nationalcops.org. To read more about the Metro NY Chapter and upcoming events, visit www.metronycops.org, call (516) 441-COPS, or email email@example.com.
Ways to participate in LEAD
• Change your profile picture on social media to the .jpg image provided at www.facebook.com/nationalcops.
• Wear blue clothing in support of law enforcement.
• Send a card of support to your local police department or state agency.
• Share a story about a positive law enforcement experience on social media.
• Ask children in your community to write letters in support of law enforcement.
• Participate in Project Blue Light - Proudly display your blue light in support of law enforcement.
• Organize an event or a rally in support of your law enforcement officers.
• Advertise your support through local media outlets/billboards.
• Post the public service announcement supplied by C.O.P.S. to your organization’s webpage or social media pages.
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