For Mike (known to many as ‘Mike the Cop’), it was facing one of his biggest nightmares. It was hearing that his little brother had been shot and killed in the line of duty. It was going home to his four children and explaining to them that their Uncle had paid the ultimate price by laying down his life for a cause. It was helping them navigate a sea of emotions as they came to terms that their own father faced those same risks. It was kissing them goodbye every day after that, praying he would see them again that night.
For David, it was facing the most unnatural circle of life—hearing that his son had fallen responding to an armed robbery call. It was saying goodbye to a man that was still very much his little boy. It was digging deep within and choosing to take his unique skill set as a counselor and a chaplain to encourage those facing the same heartache and loss that he experienced. It was carrying the honor of his son's onward by helping those who have served along side of him.
For Juan, it was watching more and more bright young individuals struggle with addiction in his own community. He watched as it took a toll on their friends, their families, and, ultimately, their lives. It was being the father of two kids who he wanted to protect from the same fate of others he had loved. It was working closely with families, local treatment centers, school districts, non-profit organizations and community outreach groups to help educate, encourage, and empower those who have been affected by substance abuse.
Duty is rising to the occasion regardless of difficulty, fear, comfort and the unknown.
Humanizing the Badge was founded on the very concept of duty. As the world began to see law enforcement thrown into the broadly painted spotlight of today's society, this organization was founded by people who stood up and refused to play into the course of generalized division. We refuse to play into anger and choose to never let go of the one single element that cannot be ignored—the element of community.
Duty is more than just running into a burning building or putting yourself in harm’s way to save someone’s life. Humanizing The Badge is a collection of individuals who believe that it’s our duty to love and repair relationships with our communities. Instead of pointing fingers, we’ve decided to roll up our sleeves, to have the hard conversations, to put down our differences to help law enforcement and communities come together as one.
It hasn't always been easy. Members of our organization have all seen their own struggles and their own hardships. We've experienced significant losses within our own lives that could make most people hang it all up—from sexual abuse, to addiction and depression, to death.
Life is messy. It's hard, complicated, and ever-changing. Our next breath and the breaths of those we love are never guaranteed. Many things are completely out of our control, but the one thing that we hold in our hands is the power to choose how we respond to tragedy. At a time when we hear about tragedies all too often in the news, when police-community relations seem to be irreparable,
Humanizing the Badge chooses hope. We choose action and effort. We choose community.
So what does duty mean for me? It’s the hand of my four-year-old boy that clings to mine, not understanding the pain and evil within this world. It’s his father suiting up every morning in hopes he can leave the world a little better place than he found it. It’s the fear I feel each time he leaves that our son and I might not see him again. And it’s the pride I feel knowing that people like him, Mike, David, Juan, and all those involved in Project Human are out restoring relationships in communities where trust and understanding are more strained than ever.
Our stories are unique as individuals, but they are exactly the same in one extraordinary way. We never give up. It's our calling. It's our purpose. It's our duty. And we have no choice but to answer it every single time it calls.
Elizabeth Ogden is the Co-founder of Humanizing The Badge and author of "Dear Officer" and "Not My Burden but My Honor"
Share your stories using the hashtag #dutyrunsdeep Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/dutyrunsdeep
Albert “Foxie” was a member of the Blauvelt Volunteer Fire Company for 31 years, working his way through the ranks to Chief. On his 11th wedding anniversary, he led his wife Cathy and their two young sons out of a fire to safety. He went back to save another son – but neither made it out – and died in the line of duty on October 26‚ 1996.
When Cathy, the wife of “Foxie” found herself grieving and wondering where to turn, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) was there to support her and her sons. Now Cathy and her sons are able to give back to others who walk a similar path.
It was stories like these that the United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort in honoring the memories of all U.S. firefighters who died in the line of duty and to provide support to their loved ones.
As part of this mission, each October the Foundation hosts - the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend as a tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. The survivors of those being honored meet others who have walked the path a little longer and understand their grief in a way many may not. Through weekend activities, they find reassurance that their loved ones will not be forgotten and they have a place to find comfort and compassion.
CAMPS FOR CHILDREN OF FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS
Beyond the Memorial Weekend, the NFFF helps families with similar experiences and interests find each other through the Survivors Network. Recognizing that children need and deserve special attention, the NFFF introduced the Hal Bruno Camp For Children of Fallen Fighters in partnership with Comfort Zone Camp. This free weekend bereavement camp allows children to share their stories, learn skills to manage their loss and provides time to reflect and remember their parent in a positive, fun and nurturing environment.
“Everyone grieves differently and in their own way, but ultimately, our feelings are universal,” one camper explained. “The Hal Bruno Camp can help you. You don’t have to share your story, but if you do, it is healing in a way that these people at the camp ‘get it’.”
AN EXPANDING MISSION
Over the years, the Foundation realized that the best way to honor the fallen and support their families is to work with all branches of the fire service to reduce line-of-duty deaths and injuries. And so the NFFF’s mission has expanded.
In 2004, the first Firefighter Life Safety Summit was held in Tampa, Florida to address a need to reduce the number of preventable line-of-duty deaths. More than 200 fire service and industry leaders worked together to develop the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives.
Out of those initiatives, the NFFF created the Everyone Goes Home® program, which provides free resources, materials and training opportunities to our nation’s firefighters that underscore the importance of accepting responsibility for one’s health and safety.
In addition, the Foundation has provided funding for research that examines coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes prevention. The NFFF also regularly sponsors meetings and summits to address evolving needs of the fire service community, such as cancer prevention and behavioral health issues.
When a tragedy strikes in the community – day or night – firefighters respond without hesitation to protect and save the lives of others. Duty Runs Deep.
When tragedy strikes in the fire service – and a firefighter dies in the line of duty – it is our mission to respond- to bring comfort and hope in the midst of sorrow and pain.
Help us honor those who have fallen and share your stories using the hashtag #dutyrunsdeep and the Motorola Solutions Foundation will donate $1 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Chief Ronald J. Siarnicki is the Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Watch the video of this years memorial event
Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/dutyrunsdeep
In 1991, the ASTRO system was born. With the anticipation of Project 25 (P25) - designed to create a user-driven, flexible, and open standard for radio communications - Motorola Solutions built ASTRO as a land mobile radio (LMR) platform to comply with the P25 standard. To celebrate ASTRO’s 25th year, this series will look at the past, present, and future of ASTRO 25 and answer the most pressing questions being asked by radio users today.
If you use location-based services with geofencing on your land-mobile radio (LMR) network, you understand the operational efficiencies and personnel safety that these solutions provide. The ability to see where your resources are located improves your situational awareness keeping your response times short and allowing you to quickly send backup when needed. A circle drawn on a map screen creates a virtual boundary which triggers an icon color change and a pop-up message when field personnel enter or exit an incident scene. But, what if your geofence could put your radio in control...
Putting The Radio In Control
The next evolution of public safety geofence puts the intelligence into your LMR radio with dynamic and permanent virtual geographic boundaries. Dynamic geofences, with incident-specific radio actions are created in a mapping application by a dispatcher and then pushed over the ASTRO 25 network into APX two-way radios. Permanent geofences can be programmed directly into the radio with customer programming software (CPS).
Because the geofences are stored in the radio, the radio immediately knows when it crosses a geographic boundary, even when off the ASTRO® 25network. Upon crossing a geographic boundary, the radio will automatically execute the pre-programmed radio actions for that geofence, such as changing talkgroups, alerting the radio user and updating dispatch. This autonomous operation provides hands-free operation for first responders during a critical emergency situation.
How Could You Use This?
Let’s consider an emergency situation in which a dynamic geofence is needed. The dispatcher creates a boundary around the incident and selects first responders for the geofence. As the first responders enter the incident area, their radios immediately change to the incident channel or talkgroup, providing hands-free operation. Dispatch communications is minimized since the radio visually and audibly announces to the radio user they have entered the incident area. This solves one of the most common problems of incident management, ensuring all first responders are on the correct radio channel so they communicate with each other. When the incident is over, dispatch takes down the geofence and all radios go back to their previous settings.
Now let’s consider when a permanent geographic boundary would be utilized in daily operations, such as communications with campus university emergency services. A geofence with preprogrammed radio actions is created for the university and loaded into the radio. Upon entry to the campus, the first responder’s radio switches to the campus radio channel, lowers its power level and sends a message to dispatch that the user’s radio has changed channels. All this is done automatically, without the responder having to remember the campus radio channel and without having to call dispatch.
In both examples, the geofence intelligence is in the APX radio. This means the radio can take immediate action, even when in a poor coverage area and completely disconnected from the network. Automatic and hands-free operations ensure immediate communications on the correct radio channel.
Learn more about ASTRO 25 at www.motorolasolutions.com/astro25.
Jim McDonell is an ASTRO 25 System Roadmap Manager for Motorola Solutions
In this blog, we take you inside of our Network Operations Center as one of our Tier 1 technicians works with a customer to resolve an outage. With our Managed and Support Services, you always have access to expert technical support for your mission-critical communications.
A Day in the Life
As a tier 1 technician at Motorola Solutions’ Network Operations Center (NOC), I’m constantly monitoring our managed services customers’ networks for current or potential issues using sophisticated event management and performance tools. This enables us to quickly resolve critical events as they arise, either remotely or by dispatching on-site field support.
The tools used at our NOC minimize the human error associated with network monitoring. Correlation tools provide a live view of network operations and incidents at remote sites. If a fault triggers a pre-determined threshold set for an individual customer, the system creates an incident ticket.
The instant that ticket is created, I’m automatically alerted. My job is to diagnose the root cause before it impacts the communication environment. It’s proactive management, rather than reactive service.
Resolution in Action
If a public safety customer is experiencing poor quality on two communication channels, I’ll attempt to remedy the problem remotely. If that’s not possible, the next step is to dispatch a technician to do on-site testing.Solving an issue may require checking many different parts of the system, from the network router and devices to the lines connected to the tower. Alternatively, the problem could lie with a backhaul agency. More than one agency or organization could be involved, as well as our operations engineers, and engineers or teams on the client’s side.
In these situations, I act as the “quarterback,” serving as the one point of contact for the customer throughout the entire process and making sure that vital information is communicated to everyone who needs it.
In a recent case, the telecom link that connected a customer’s site to the master site went down. As a result, the users connected to that site experienced limited communications. We had already been notified by the telecom company about the issue and quickly dispatched technicians to the site. So when the customer called to alert me of intermittently dropped voice calls, I was able to assure him that we were already working to resolve the situation.
I’d worked with this customer before, so I knew he’d want details. I explained the steps that had already been taken. The customer requested an update every half hour and whenever the status changed. So that’s what I did. I also made our team aware of our customer’s sentiments and the sensitivity around this case while I served as the single point of contact to keep the customer informed until the issue was resolved.
Replacing the telecom link was complex because we had to replace wires and switch the customer on and off the backup system to prevent further downtime.
The entire job—as complex as it was—took only a couple of hours. This kind of speedy resolution is our goal at Motorola Solutions’ Managed Services. We are always ready to provide expert service and proactively mitigate network risks.
DavidPoetz is a Specialist in Customer Operations at Motorola Solutions
I will always remember Vivian Eney—a passionate woman, with a powerful speaking presence. And tragically, a widow.
It was Vivian who first helped me understand how much a simple expression of condolence can mean to the loved ones of officers who make the ultimate sacrifice. I realized then how meaningful a lasting tribute—a national monument with their loved one's name inscribed—would be to a survivor.
On October 15, 1991, thanks in part to Vivian’s leadership, we dedicated the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, with nearly 12,600 names of fallen heroes engraved on the marble walls. Among those names was Vivian’s late husband, Christopher Eney, a sergeant with the United States Capitol Police, who was killed in a training accident in August 1984. Vivian was among a handful of leaders who helped turn the dream of this national monument into a reality. She was the deciding voice in favor of the lion statues, beautifully sculpted by Ray Kaskey, that adorn the entrances of the Memorial. And, of course, it is her poignant quote on the Memorial walls that has explained to millions of visitors the essence of this monument:
It is not how these officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.
When Motorola Solutions approached us about bringing to life the meaning of duty, we jumped at the chance. Those of us at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund often hear the stories of heroes who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Every time I walk by the Memorial and see the names of the thousands of officers who have lost their lives protecting our citizenry, I am reminded that duty truly does run deep.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has held countless ceremonies and events that raise the public awareness of law enforcement in our country—especially those who have fallen in the line of duty. From Candlelight Vigils to intimate wreathlayings to 5K run and walk events, the Memorial is open and accessible to all every day of the year. As Vivian so eloquently shared, it is a place where survivors, colleagues, and friends can visit and remember their officer.
Yet, as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, we continue our efforts to bring comfort and support to those who have lost a loved one. And we know that our work to fulfill our mission does not end there. In fact, that’s only the start. We also aspire to protect the officers who put on the uniform every day by promoting safety and wellness. We partner with a variety of organizations to raise awareness of the everyday dangers in an officer’s life, while providing information and resources designed to improve their safety as they conduct their work to keep the citizens in our communities safe. We issue Law Enforcement Fatalities Reports to identify trends and key indicators of specific areas where the law enforcement community can focus to improve officer safety. And we notify subscribers through our Recently Fallen Alerts when we learn of officer fatalities across the country.
And, now, construction is well underway on the National Law Enforcement Museum that will finally and fully tell the story of American law enforcement. The Museum will open in 2018, and when it does, millions of visitors will learn what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer. Through high-tech interactive exhibits, a comprehensive collection of artifacts, extensive resources for research, and diverse educational programming, the Museum will help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve by giving visitors a better understanding of a day in the life of an officer.
As we commemorate the Memorial’s 25th anniversary this month, we remember the now 20,789 names engraved on the sacred walls. Each one was a hero who sacrificed their life for our safety. We will continue to honor them and their families. They are fallen, but never forgotten.
Craig W. Floyd is the President and CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, an organization dedicated to honoring and remembering the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers in the United States.
Post your stories on what duty means to you, using the hashtag #dutyrunsdeep and the Motorola Solutions Foundation will donate $1 to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Learn more at motorolasolutions.com/dutyrunsdeep
In October 2015, South Carolina experienced a terrifying 1000-year flood. Rain of historic proportions inundated the state for four days. The event caused $12B in damage—22 counties were declared federal disaster areas, countless homes were destroyed, and 17 people lost their lives.
First responders and good samaritans from all across the state answered the call of duty, helping to evacuate citizens and rescue people trapped by the dangerous waters. Among a sea of heroes, one Trooper’s efforts stood out.
With Swift Water Rescue teams blocked by road and bridge closures, State Trooper Gabriel M. Colbert took action and put himself at great risk to fulfill his duty. Trooper Colbert braved swift, neck-deep waters, crossing the expanse of a flooded Interstate unaided, to rescue a mother, her two-year-old daughter and an elderly man.
For his exceptional service, Trooper Colbert was named South Carolina’s Highway Patrol Trooper of the Year. Trooper Colbert and the countless officers across the country who share his integrity, courage and mission, inspire everyone at Motorola Solutions to keep innovating so first responders can be their best in the moments that matter.
We’re forever grateful to the men and women who fulfill their duty when we need them most. Help us honor them by telling their stories with the hashtag #DutyRunsDeep. For every post, the Motorola Solutions Foundation will donate $1 to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Together these funds honor officers who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice and provide resources to families trying to rebuild their lives.
Tracy Kimbo is Director of Law Enforcement Marketing for Motorola Solutions
WATCH THE STORY UNFOLD IN THIS VIDEO