enforcement officers frequently
deal with unspeakable, and often senseless, tragedy.
We witness the most gruesome, callous things human beings can do to one
another on a daily basis, and, no matter how much we may empathize with the victims and their
families, we must deal with these situations objectively and professionally.
when one of the law enforcement agencys own is the victim, dealing with such a
tragedy becomes extremely personal.
Its hard to
remain objective and organized when youre grieving.
A line-of-duty funeral involves myriad activities, events, tasks, services, and ceremonies,
which typically involve over a hundred issues to be
evaluated, modified, applied, managed, and coordinated,
all on a strict time line.
There will be
little time for in-depth discussions, revisions and preparations. A
select strategic planning team may find themselves responsible for a staff of a
hundred people on the day of the services, with events at several locations, and
attendance in the thousands. All of this occurs simultaneously with the criminal,
traffic, or death investigation, as well as during a time of collective shock
and grief for the agency.
When a death occurs is not the time to test your agency preparedness.
Time is of the essence. Relying on a funeral protocol from
another agency that probably won’t be compatible with your agency won’t build
confidence in your ability to adequately manage such a solemn
obligation. Preparing to make
the death notifications to the surviving family members and learning that the
contact information is outdated, unnecessarily complicates the entire
your primary funeral planning team of their individual
responsibilities only after a death occurs is not effective management
and could lead to chaos at a time you can least afford it.
Critical issues that will
need to be addressed immediately after the death typically include:
the primary planning team
the funeral coordinator
critical personnel and logistical needs
Critical Incident Debriefings
Family Liaison Officer
Having a professional
coordinator on your team helps ensure the best
in a high-stress environment, providing you with the best
information available, mixed with hands-on experience, so that any decisions
made during the planning are as sound, objective and compassionate as possible.
funerals are always done right, but not always done best
are encouraged to
consider scheduling the Planning for the Unthinkable – the Police Funeral Training
are encouraged to contact John when a death occurs and consider adding
him to their management team whenever possible
In John’s experience, there
will likely be over 150 issues that need to be identified,
reviewed, evaluated, modified, and possibly integrated
into the funeral planning process.
The family needs guidance,
not instruction. What funeral coordinators
must avoid is a scenario in which the
surviving family learns after the funeral
services are over:
were available that they weren’t told about
weren't told when they could be allowed more time in
making important decisions
made decisions that they should have made
You get only one opportunity to give your officer a meaningful,
dignified memorial, and it should be done
the best way possible. Funerals are for the living, and
the memories last a life time. John encourages agency
decision-makers to take advantage of the expertise
and services he offers.
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