Blue Lights & Ribbons

PROJECT BLUE LIGHT:  Each year during the holiday season, C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors) asks citizens and law enforcement agencies nationwide to support Project Blue Light during the holiday season.

Several years ago, Mrs. Dolly Craig, the surviving mother-in-law of Daniel Gleason, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania police officer killed in the line of duty in 1986, sent her Christmas message to the C.O.P.S. National office. Her daughter Pam, the surviving widow of Officer Gleason had been killed in a car accident in August, 1989, before the holiday season. Dolly wrote, “This holiday I’m putting two blue lights in my living room window. One is for Dan and the other is for Pam, who believed so much in the C.O.P.S. organization”.

Dolly Craig is now deceased as well, but her idea is her legacy. Project Blue Light burns brightly in the hearts of the nearly 10,000 surviving families who comprise the C.O.P.S. organization, a national, non-profit that assists the surviving families of officers killed in the line of duty as they rebuild their shattered lives.

From a single blue porch light to entire shopping centers outlined in blue, thousands of blue lights shine nationwide during the holiday season to honor and remember those law enforcement officers who have given their lives in service to the profession. The blue lights also thank those men and women of the badge who continue to serve and protect their communities.

BLUE RIBBON CAMPAIGN:  Law enforcement is often referred to as the “thin blue line,” a reference to those often dressed in blue uniforms who stand as the dividing line between a civilized society and chaos. Since 1995, Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc. (C.O.P.S.) has promoted blue ribbons tied on car antennas during National Police Week as a symbol of honor and respect for those who serve and who have sacrificed their lives for the “thin blue line”.

National Police Week has existed since President John F. Kennedy signed Public Law 87-726 in 1962. This law designates May 15 of each year as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day in honor of the officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty. The calendar week in which May 15 falls is Police Week, in recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day , stand guard in our communities. The Presidential proclamation encourages people of the United States to hold appropriate ceremonies and activities honoring law enforcement.

In 1995, C.O.P.S. initiated an annual public awareness campaign to educate Americans on the significance of Police Week and Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. As part of this public awareness campaign, hundreds of thousands of blue ribbons imprinted with the C.O.P.S. logo are mailed each year. Citizens are asked to tie the ribbons to their car anntennas during National Police Week to show their support for their local law enforcement officers and the sacrifices made by law enforcement families nationwide.

C.O.P.S. also encourages law enforcement agencies to tie blue ribbons on all police vehicles during Police Week. Agencies can request blue ribbons by fax only to (573) 346.1414. In 1995, C.O.P.S. distributed 100,000 blue ribbons to law enforcement agencies. In 2001, C.O.P.S. will distribute over one million blue ribbons to law enforcement agencies. This is in addition to the ribbons distributed through C.O.P.S.’ other public awareness campaigns!

“The Blue Ribbon Campaign has been extremely successful in heightening awareness of law enforcement, Police Week, and the sacrifices of the heroes killed each year in the line of duty,” states C.O.P.S. National President Molly Winters. “It’s not for just one week in May that blue ribbons fly for law enforcement either. Blue ribbons can be seen on private cars and police vehicles throughout the year. It’s really rewarding to see a blue ribbon on a car antenna in June in Juneau, Alaska, or on a cruiser antenna in September in St. Louis, Missouri. That’s when we know that our Blue Ribbon Campaign is working”.

A length of blue ribbon tied to a car antenna during Police Week is an appropriate salute to the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our communities. Feel free to “fly the blue” all year long.

For more information about the National Organization of Concerns of Police Survivors, visit their web site at www.nationalcops.org.