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Fallen officers were honored for making the ultimate sacrifice in Cleveland Friday.
Thousands of police officers from departments across Northeast Ohio marched down Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland. The annual parade is to remember fellow police officers who have died while serving and protecting their communities.
Showing strength and poise, the teenaged daughters of 43-year-old Elyria patrolman James Kerstetter, who was shot to death March 15, walked to honor their dad.
“It’s been tough but it gets easier, and like the constant support you get, it’s good, it makes you feel better. He really helped a lot of people and stuff, so it’s good to know that people still care,” said daughter Misty Kerstetter.
“I really like coming to ceremonies and see how many people are honoring, people should really just keep honoring them because police officers do so much for their community,” said daughter Shelby Kerstetter.
The parade was followed by a Memorial Service, that included the dedication of a renovated Peace Officers Memorial.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced Wednesday that ‘The Giving Back Fund’ and the ‘Ben Roethlisberger Foundation’ will distribute a grant to the Cleveland Division of Police.
The Cleveland Police Department has been seeking financial assistance for the purchase of vital training equipment for their K-9 Unit.
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said “Mr. Roethlisberger’s commitment to public safety will once again enable us to enhance the security of our Patrol Officers and their K-9 partners and, ultimately, the people of the city of Cleveland. We had a specific need that through the generosity of the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation we were able to fill. We cannot thank our native Ohio son enough.
“Throughout this football season, The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation has provided grant money to police and fire departments in Pittsburgh and in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away opponent for the Steelers. The foundation invited police and fire departments in the eight cities to submit proposals that detailed their financial needs.
In a press release issued on Wednesday Roethlisberger said, “It is an honor and a privilege to work with police and fire departments in and around the Pittsburgh area as well as with others around the country. We have had the opportunity to see firsthand how important the dogs are to these men and women who risk their lives every day to protect us. It’s incredible to see the strong bond that is formed between the dogs and their partners both on the job and at home. “
Former Detroit Councilman Clyde Cleveland tells an interesting story about the days long ago when he and his siblings received Goodfellow Christmas gift packages.
“In my neighborhood,” he said, “it wasn’t cool to have the police coming to your door. In fact, the only time we really looked forward to seeing them was when they delivered the Goodfellow Christmas gifts every year!”
Most Detroit police officers laugh at stories like that. It’s tough raising the money for gift packages every year. But it’s just as difficult to locate the kids who really need them — and then make sure they aren’t disappointed on Christmas morning.
To accomplish those twin tasks, the more than 300-member Detroit Goodfellows rely on the attendance department of the Detroit Public Schools, the cooperation of Detroit Police Chief James Barren and the assistance of Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans.
Each fall when school opens, teachers hand out Goodfellow package application cards.
Attendance officers have multiple responsibilities in administering the Goodfellow programs.
Over the years the Detroit Police have assumed the dual responsibility of helping the Goodfellows raise money and store and distribute packages. Today, hundreds of officers are on the streets alongside the Goodfellows selling special editions of The Detroit News and donating the money they collect. Sales Day traditionally nets the Old Newsboys about $200,000. The police contribution is frequently more than 50 percent of that figure. But then they do more.
When the recipients are identified and the packages are prepared, notices are mailed to the households asking an adult to pick up the gifts.
If packages go uncollected and Christmas is getting close, the police officers frequently go out into the neighborhoods to find the needy children and make the deliveries.
Teamwork? You bet! And at bare-bones costs.
New Program Challenges Stigma And Honors Police Officers Who Help Each Other And Themselves To Cope With Job Stress
Mangled bodies, gunfire, high-speed chases and injured children are just a few events witnessed by police officers and soldiers serving in dangerous hot spots around the world.
The city of Cleveland’s Division of Police has partnered with Case Western Reserve University, the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland and the U.S. Department of Defense to reduce on-the-job stress among police officers, who find themselves in the middle of these traumatic events.
Developed by this distinctive partnership, the innovative program trains police supervisors to identify and assist with operational stress.
These traumas take a high toll on police officers and soldiers, who suppress human emotions to get the job done and can be reluctant to share their experiences in an effort to spare others from their ordeals, according to a current Police Quarterly article, “Training Police Leadership to Recognize and Address Operational Stress,” written by U.S. Army Lt. Col. (retired) Mark Chapin, Case Western Reserve University Professor of Social Work Mark Singer and Partnership for a Safer Cleveland Executive Director Michael Walker.
The article focuses on how this collaboration – one of the first in the United States between military combat stress experts and a local police force – has worked to reduce job stress.
“Police officers face job stress in the line of duty 24 hours a day. Even the toughest officer can eventually feel it. We want to change the operational climate of silence about problems and the stigma toward seeking help,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. (retired) Mark Chapin, one of the trainers.
Chapin, a graduate of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve, currently serves as a clinical social worker at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He has worked with hundreds of soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from battles in Vietnam, Panama, Grenada, Somalia and survivors of the 1983 suicide bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
The city’s program, funded by a grant from the Cleveland Foundation, has trained more than 80 commanders and supervisors who oversee the Cleveland Police Department’s nearly 1,600 officers.
These leaders have trained and honored officers who have participated in the program with medals shaped like a dog tag in recognition of coming to the aid of their colleagues or seeking assistance when job stress surfaces.
The bronze medals, engraved with “One for All” and “Strengthening the Chain,” reinforce the tenets of the training and the solidarity among officers to address stress. These awards were adapted from the U.S. Military Commander Coin program that acknowledges military personnel who go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Police work is highly stressful and one of the few occupations where an individual continually faces the inherent danger of physical violence and the potential of sudden death,” said Mark Singer, professor of social work at the Mandel School.
Singer helped design the program. He has spent 15 years working with police, riding along with them regularly as they patrol Cleveland’s neighborhoods.
In addition to the dog tags, supervisors and patrol officers have tri-fold laminated cards providing the warning signs of operational stress. The commanders’ and supervisors’ cards outline symptoms of stress. The line officers’ cards list physical and emotional symptoms of stress, provide information about recovery from operational fatigue and suggest ways of protecting both the officers and their partners.
“The early identification of operational stress increases the likelihood of positive outcomes in police-citizen interactions,” said Michael Walker, executive director of the Partnership for a Safer Cleveland, who helped design and implement the training program.
In past years, Walker and Singer have teamed up to provide on-the-job training for local police in a variety of areas.
The latest initiative, begun in 2005, evolved from their work with youth and law enforcement officials. They hope this and future programs will promote health and support among police officers as they carry out their service to Cleveland communities.
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Police will hire up to 10 additional officers next year or in 2010 with a federal grant the department was awarded this week, officials said.
Public Safety Director Marty Flask said the department will receive $750,000 that it can use sometime over the next three years to add more police to its 1,600-plus member force. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Justice Department.
“Certainly it helps us project more visibility in neighborhoods and in the city of Cleveland, but it also helps pay for the costs of those officers,” Flask said.
A new police class of 40 to 50 members that starts in November will also add to the total of officers, Flask said. The department probably would not use the federal funding to hire police until 2009 or 2010, Flask said.
The city will eventually have to pick up the officers’ salaries. Under the federal guidelines, the grants can only be used to hire new officers — not offset the salaries of existing ones — and they must be kept on the job for at least three years.
Cleveland was the only city in the state to receive the monies, said Gilbert Moore, a spokesman for the Justice Department’s Office Community Oriented Policing Services program in Washington.
“Cops hiring grants help law enforcement agencies enforce laws, provide increased community policing and enhance the quality of life for the citizens they serve,” Moore said.
The police department was encouraged to apply for the grant based on its officer to citizen ratio, crime statistics and other factors, Moore said.
The grants, which were allotted by Congress, are the first being given since 2005.