PHOENIX — An Arizona group is helping families of fallen police officers to pay tribute to their loved ones in honor of National Police Memorial Week.
Concerns of Police Survivors, or C.O.P.S. Arizona, help families who have recently lost a loved one who worked in law enforcement to attend memorial week events, which lasts from May 11 to 17, in Washington D.C.
This year, former president Jan Blaser-Upchurch said the organization will be helping the family of an officer from the Navajo Nation who died in 2015.
“The officer is Alex Yazzie from the Navajo Department of Public Safety,” she said. “His children, a significant other and his siblings will be traveling to D.C. to honor him at the national memorial, which will be held on May 15.”
The son of Chandler Police Officer David Payne, who was killed in a 2014 hit-and-run, will be among other Arizonans who will be travelling to the event.
Blaser-Upchurch said the group’s goal is simply to help the families get through tough times.
“We’re all survivors of fallen officers from various years, and we go back to help the past years’ survivors, and the new survivors,” she said.
She knows all too well what it’s like to lose a law enforcement loved one. Her husband, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sergeant John Glaser, was killed by a drunk driver on Labor Day weekend in 1990.
“It shattered my world, and it took a long time for me to be able to walk and talk again,” Blaser-Upchurch said.
In 2015, 122 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty nationwide. Thirty-three officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.