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COPS, how it all began

COPS, how it all began

Lieutenant Danny P. Elkins of the Yuma Police Department, Arizona was shot and killed on duty by a Yuma County Deputy on Tuesday, July 4, 1995 whilst investigating missing evidence. Danny left a wife and daughter, but his death started a chain of events which could never have been foreseen.

Strathclyde Police Detective Jim McNulty was a friend of Danny's, had visited him in Yuma and even gone for a 'ride along' with him on duty. They were, as the Chief of Yuma PD noted, kindred spirits.

On his next visit to the US, Jim travelled to Washington DC and visited the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to look for Danny's name on the wall. There are over 20,000 names on the Memorial and as he searched, a passer-by asked if he could be of any help. That man was Craig Floyd, CEO of the Memorial Foundation, and after a chat he told Jim he really should come back and experience Police Week.

Seeing how the US Law Enforcement community payed tribute to their fallen officers during Police Week and how Concerns Of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S) supported their surviving families convinced Jim of the need for something similar in the UK. On returning home he began to knock on doors, most of which remained firmly closed to his ideas of a Scottish Police Memorial and a charity to support survivors. Few could see any need, especially for a UK COPS charity, wasn't that what force welfare departments did?

Things began to change after the tragedy of September 11th 2001, Jim organised a trip to Police Week in May 2002 via the UKPolice-L email discussion group. 30 officers from all over the UK formed a guard of honour with their US colleagues for the survivors as they arrived for the candlelight vigil. They also visited the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre site in New York, hosted by the Pentagon Police Department and NYPD.

The 'Bobbies at Police Week' contingent returned in 2003 and this time Christine and 9 year old Luke Fulton went too. Christine spent her time visiting US Survivors and meeting organisers from C.O.P.S and the NLEOMF while Luke was included in all the C.O.P.S. Kids events. When he visited the FBI Academy at Quantico they even arranged for a UK officer on attachment to the National Academy, to be his escort.

Christine admits, like the UK Bobbies, she went along thinking it would be a nice holiday but Police Week changed their lives. The right idea, at the right time with the right people found doors were not only open, but Jim's ideas were now listened to and acted upon.

From those initial visits and the contacts made, emerged the driving force and original Trustees of both Care Of Police Survivors (COPS) and the Scottish Police Memorial, not to mention the UK Law Ride and Police Unity Tour.

The first COPS Survivors weekend was held at Lichfield, Staffordshire in 2003. 64 survivors came to the weekend and one Chief Constable attended the Sunday service. From those small beginnings has emerged the successful and vibrant charity that is COPS today.

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