Mine is a relatively low-risk profession. The possibility of disaster striking my cubicle is fairly remote, and the odds of being shot by a disgruntled coworker pretty small (at least I hope they are).
But, I have life insurance, accidental death insurance and I have a will.
I'm prepared for death, though I don't think it's just around the corner.
Often those in the high-risk law enforcement profession don't want to think about death, and creating a will is an uncomfortable reminder of the imminent dangers of their jobs. In the words of one veteran officer, "I don't like to dwell on things like that. I don't want to think about it. I really don't."
No one likes to consider death, but it is a reality, especially in the law enforcement profession. Unfortunately many officers are unprepared for that harsh circumstance, and when it strikes unexpectedly, their families suffer the consequences.
In the 17 minutes between the crash of two planes into New York's Word Trade Center, well over 1,000 first responders rushed toward a fiery uncertain fate. Of the 403 first responders who died on 9/11, most did not have a will. Eight of the nine firefighters who died in the Charleston warehouse fire on June 18, 2007, also did not have wills in place.
"Preparing a will is one of those tasks that make many people feel uneasy," says Fire Chief Chuck Osterman of Kingman, Arizona.
In November 2001, Attorney Anthony Hayes set out to change this unfortunate situation. He created the Wills for Heroes program, a non-profit organization that works with affiliate agencies to provide free wills and other estate planning documents to America's first responders. The pro bono legal service brings volunteer attorneys directly to first responders and produces estate planning documents in about an hour.
Be safe out there — but be prepared!
—The full text of this article is available at www.officer.com/interactive/category/ronnie-garrett-editor