The Sacrifices of Our Sisters

As I write this, nine female police officers have died in the line of duty in the first seven months of this year. Women are 11% of our current fallen officers. Their average age was 39, their average tour of duty was 14 years. But there is so much more...

Originally planning to be an elementary school teacher, Anna took the test to be a state trooper and thrived.  She gave birth to her son in 2008, and was a great mom.  “That little boy was her world” said his father. 

Denver, CO Police Officer Celena Hollis was working downtown at a jazz festival on June 24th, 2012 when she attempted to break up a fight.  One of the suspects in the altercation pulled out a handgun, shooting Officer Hollis in the head.  Celena was a 7 year veteran of Denver PD, and had also served on theDetroit,MI Police Department for four years.  She was president DPD’s Black Police Officers Organization and extremely involved in the community. 

She was memorialized with stories of her incredible level of fitness, her ability to listen attentively, and her vibrant sense of fashion and fun. At her funeral, songs like “Purple Rain” by Prince and Michael Jackson’s “Pretty Young Thing” were played while 50 of her favorite shoes were put on display.

Her 12 year old daughter, who was a toddler when her mom became a cop, talked of her mother’s love of travel, adventure and life.  She described Celena as “sweet, crazy and loving.”  Celena Hollis was 32 years old.

Correctional Officer Nikkii Bostic-Jones was walking from the sheriff’s office parking lot to the maximum security wing of the Cook County (IL) jail on July 18, 2012 when she was struck so hard by a blue conversion van that she was thrown into the path of an oncoming squad car and pinned underneath it.  The 12 year veteran of the CCSO Department of Corrections was pronounced dead after transport to the hospital; the suspect fled the scene.  He was arrested several days later. 

The oldest of seven, Nikki was considered a family role model.  She was one of the first in her family to finish college.  She grew up onChicago’sWest Sidebut had since moved to the western suburbs with her husband and six year old daughter.  The last thing the 38 year old officer said to her family as she left for work that day was “love you all.”

Women represent approximately 12% of law enforcement officers nationwide. "America's female law enforcement officers continue to suffer from the same threats and dangers as their male counterparts. ODMP ensure that their stories are told and their memories will never be forgotten” said Chris Cosgriff, founder of the Officer Down Memorial Page.

We are a warrior culture, and warriors sing the songs of their fallen.  We make sure that no one, no brother or sister, is ever forgotten.  Remember how these women sacrificed, tell their stories, and learn from each of them so that we derive the true meaning of their sacrifice.


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About The Author:

Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a 29-year veteran of a large suburban Chicago police department. She retired in 2009 as a patrol supervisor, and has held positions in patrol, investigations, narcotics, juvenile, crime prevention and field training. As a sergeant, she supervised her department's K-9 Unit, served as a field training sergeant, recruitment team sergeant, bike patrol coordinator, the Crowd Control Bike Team supervisor, and supervisor of the Community Education/Crime Prevention Unit.

As a patrol sergeant, Betsy served on the Elderly Services Team, the Crisis Intervention Team, and was a supervisory member of the Honor Guard Unit. From 1999 - 2003 Betsy hosted various programs for the Law Enforcement Television Network and served as a content expert.

A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command, Betsy writes for numerous law enforcement and government publications including and is a regular columnist for many police websites and print magazines. A content expert and instructor for the Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminar from 2003 until 2013, Betsy also serves as an on-air commentator and advisor for the Police One Academy and was a featured character in the Biography Channel's "Female Forces" reality show. Betsy has been a law enforcement trainer for over 20 years and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States, Canada and beyond.

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