P.O. Box 1237
Gray GA 31032
+1 (888) 305-COPS
Left to right: Faith Norman, Tammy Gilstrap, Roger Parker, Patricia Newlin, Brenda Parker
Roger Parker (Executive Director)
Surviving Uncle of Robert Ingram, Cobb County Police Department, July 13, 1993
Roger’s commitment to our chapter and Georgia’s Law Enforcement Community has provided a positive influence on the many survivors involved with Georgia C.O.P.S. He maintains relationships with local, federal and state agencies and organizations and is an advocate for law enforcement and their surviving families. Rogers expertise also leads to consulting and assistance with our National chapter.
Patricia Newlin (President)
Surviving Mother of Shawn Newlin, Clayton County Police Department, March 4, 2007
Pat Newlin has attended Parents Retreats, has been an active volunteer at National Police Week, and has organized social events for the Georgia COPS Chapter. Pat can be found working an awareness table, planning an event, volunteering with National COPS, or on the back of a motorcycle paying tribute to our fallen officers.
Faith Norman (Vice President)
Surviving Wife of James Norman, Cobb County Police Department, February 14, 2009
Faith has been an active member of the Georgia COPS family and is serving her second term as the Secretary. Faith and her daughter hope have attended many of the COPS Kids camps and annually attends National Police Week.
Tammy Gilstrap (Secretary)
Surviving Wife of David Gilstrap, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, October 9, 2008
Tammy became a surviving spouse when her husband, Deputy David Gilstrap, was killed in the Line of Duty on October 9, 2008. Tammy has been a volunteer during National Police Week, District 3 Coordinator for GA-C.O.P.S. and assists families and agencies when they experience a line of duty death. As Chapter Secretary, she feels it is a way for her to give back to the C.O.P.S. organization that has been so instrumental in her healing process.
Brenda Parker (Treasurer)
Surviving Wife of Ronald Parker, St. Augustine Beach Police Department (FL), January 12, 1975
Brenda served the Board for 6 terms and after a term off is and is back serve for the 2011-2013 term. A 37 year Florida survivor, Brenda has traveled throughout Florida and Georgia to send the message of COPS with meetings, fundraisers, funerals, and memorials. Brenda has been attending National Police Week in DC since 2000.
The C.O.P.S. Organization
Each year, between 140 and 160 officers are killed in the line of duty and their families and co-workers are left to cope with the tragic loss. Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) provides resources to help them rebuild their shattered lives. There is no membership fee to join C.O.P.S., for the price paid is already too high.
C.O.P.S. was organized in 1984 with 110 individual members. Today, C.O.P.S. membership is over 50,000 survivors. Survivors include spouses, children, parents, siblings, significant others, and co-workers of officers who have died in the line of duty according to Federal government criteria. C.O.P.S. is governed by a national board of law enforcement survivors. All programs and services are administered by the National Office in Camdenton, Missouri. C.O.P.S. has over 50 chapters nationwide that work with survivors at the grass-roots level.
C.O.P.S. programs for survivors include the National Police Survivors’ Conference held each May during National Police Week, scholarships, peer-support at the national, state, and local levels, “C.O.P.S. Kids” counseling reimbursement program, the “C.O.P.S. Kids” Summer Camp, “C.O.P.S. Teens” Outward Bound Adventure for young adults, special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, extended family, and co-workers, trial and parole support, and other assistance programs.
C.O.P.S. knows that a survivor’s level of distress is directly affected by the agency’s response to the tragedy. C.O.P.S., therefore, offers training and assistance to law enforcement agencies nationwide on how to respond to the tragic loss of a member of the law enforcement profession. C.O.P.S. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. C.O.P.S. programs and services are funded by grants and donations.
The Georgia Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (GA C.O.P.S.) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. We are a statewide chapter of an international organization named Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., founded in 1984.
The Georgia chapter was chartered on November 16, 1996. We are an all volunteer organization with no officers or members receiving any salary compensation.
Our Mission & Service to Survivors and Agencies
Our membership consists of family members and co-workers who have lost an officer in the line of duty. They certainly did not choose to be a part of this organization, but because of a traumatic twist of fate, they qualified as members. They pay no dues because the price they have already paid is enough. Our chapter Board of Directors, consists of an Executive Director, President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer who are all “survivors” and provides their services to the chapter on a volunteer basis without any salary compensation. Expenses of the chapter are minimal and over 80% of our donated funds go to support programs which directly benefit our survivors. Our Board meets periodically for planning and training to carry out the business needs of our state chapter. In addition, two of our chapter directors attend an annual training seminar with all expenses paid by our national office.
As long as there is increasing crime in our communities, our law enforcement agencies will unfortunately lose officers in the line of duty. At the time our chapter is notified of a line of duty death, we immediately contact the department of the deceased officer to provide assistance and support both to them and the surviving family members. We are there for the families throughout the visitation and the funeral. After the funeral, Georgia C.O.P.S. follows up with the family and department to assist in the claim filing for state and federal monetary benefits in addition to providing peer support.
Each year we host a seminar to prepare and educate our survivors and departments who will be attending National Police Week in Washington D.C. to have their deceased officer honored in the nation’s capital. National Police Week is a week-long event to honor and pay tribute to the fallen officer and includes a Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, a Candlelight Vigil, Survivor’s Conferences and a picnic.
Programs available to our survivors include scholarships, peer-support at the national, state and local levels, C.O.P.S. Kids summer camp, Outward Bound Experience for the older teenagers, special retreats for spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, in laws, and co-workers. In addition, an expense reimbursement program is in place for minor children of the deceased officer for psychological counseling.
Our mission is to provide all the support services we can to ensure the family members and co-workers have the peer support necessary to rebuild their shattered lives as a result of the unfortunate loss of their officer. The reward of our organization is knowing this has been accomplished with as many survivors as possible and by doing so we develop relationships that last for a lifetime.
Rebuilding Shattered Lives
In March of 2011, Police Officer Elmer “Buddy” Christian was killed in the line of duty by a fleeing murder and kidnapping offender. Christian’s wife and two young children were devastated by the loss.
“When my family was at it’s lowest, C.O.P.S. helped us pickup the shattered pieces of our lives and find joy again.” – Melissa Christian-Griffeth, Surviving Spouse of Officer Christian