Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) Program Evaluation

Project Purpose/Goal

The project goal is to conduct a comprehensive review of C.O.P.S. hands-on programs and services and set benchmarks for ongoing evaluation. C.O.P.S. receives annual grants from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance to provide services to a growing number of survivors of those law enforcement personnel lost in the line of duty.  The goal of this project was to document the historical growth of C.O.P.S. since its inception in 1984, survey eight of the nine survivor groups (Spouses, Parents, Adult Children, Fiancés/Significant Others, Siblings, Extended Family, Young Adults, and Co-Workers), observe and participate in various programs, training, and Police Week events, and provide a set of conclusions and recommendations.

Approach, Results and Implications

The Police Foundation conducted its review over a period of a year, a period in which we:  1) conducted an on-site visit at C.O.P.S.’ headquarters to interview program staff, 2) attended a parents’ retreat, 3) attended the National Conference on Wellness and Safety, 4) attended the Traumas in Law Enforcement Class, 5) Participated in Police Week and conducted focus groups with Chapter representatives during that period, and 6) conducted surveys of randomly selected survivors from each of eight survivor groups, and 7) presented the findings to the national board and C.O.P.S.’ staff.  The results demonstrated tremendous growth in both the number of programs and in many of the program attendance rates, all during a period where line of duty deaths have remained flat or slightly decreased. Overwhelmingly, survivors had particularly high ratings of the services and programs offered by C.O.P.S. indicating their supportiveness, helpfulness, and significant role in “rebuilding shattered lives,” their mission. In early 2019, results and recommendations about the key findings were presented to C.O.P.S. National Board and Staff. It is anticipated that this review and recommendations will serve as a baseline for services provided and the quality of them, as well as identify needs for capacity building as the organization and its programs continues to grow in meeting the needs for services.

Funding & Collaboration

This was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance via a grant to C.O.P.S. in 2017, with a sub-grant to the National Police Foundation to conduct the evaluation.

Point of Contact:

Karen L. Amendola, PhD
Chief Behavioral Scientist
National Police Foundation


Community policing, line of duty deaths, police survivors, officer safety, health, and wellness, National Police Week