Grieving With Some Help

June 26, 2023
Find out how Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) has helped the families of fallen officers since 1984.

During the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s 35th Annual Candlelight on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on May 13, Patricia Carruth, National President of Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), shared with the audience her story just one day before Mother’s Day and 20 years after the line-of-duty death of her son.

This article appeared in the March/April issue of OFFICER Magazine. Click Here to subscribe to OFFICER Magazine.

“I know there’s a lot of brokenness here tonight, but you guys look beautiful to me. I would first like to extend a big hug and much love to all the moms attending this Candlelight Vigil tonight,” she told them. “For some of you, the anticipation of Mother’s Day is exhausting. I know that I know what that feels like, and trust me, you are in a very good place to experience Mother’s Day this year.”

On Feb. 20, 2003, Officer Jeremy “Jay” Carruth and Officer David Ezernack were shot and killed while attempting to arrest a suspect during a Special Response Team operation. The gunman was wanted for ambushing an officer the previous day after firing into a patrol car.

“The last 20 years has been quite the journey. Full of sadness and full of joy,” she said. “There have been birthdays, graduations, holidays, weddings, baby showers, and the birth of many new members of our family. Through it all, I have been surrounded by some pretty amazing people. People who inspire me, people who have cried with me, people who have stood with me and with my family through it all. People who get me and they get it too—the grief element. Some of those people are on this stage tonight, but most of them are sitting out there with you—next to you. That’s where I found them, long ago. Sitting to my left and to my right in the chairs like those chairs that you are sitting in right now. Many of them had experienced the great losses just like me. Some of them had held my hand and just listened. They were encouraging and they truly helped me get to a better place in my grief journey. They helped me find hope again, which led to my feeling joy again.”

Carruth said that the people she was talking about were from the C.O.P.S. organization, which was created in 1984 with 110 individual members and today is comprised of over 67,000 survivors. Each year, C.O.P.S. holds the National Police Survivors’ Conference during National Police Week. “C.O.P.S. mission is rebuilding shattered lives, and they certainly do that, one day at a time,” she said.

Carruth ended her speech by telling those in attendance: “There is a C.O.P.s motto that I very much believe in. It has given me much hope for a better tomorrow and to know that I am not alone. I would like to include you all in sharing this motto. Please take the hand of the person next to you and repeat after me. ‘Take my hand and I will pull you up.’ I leave you connected to each other. Please remember to always have hope and to be your best self. Thank you. I love you all.”

To learn more about the Concerns of Police Survivors, visit:

This article appeared in the March/April issue of OFFICER Magazine

About the Author

Paul Peluso | Editor

Paul Peluso is the Managing Editor of OFFICER Magazine and has been with the Officer Media Group since 2006. He began as an Associate Editor, writing and editing content for Previously, Paul worked as a reporter for several newspapers in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD.

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