EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The East Providence Police Department hosted a golf tournament Monday in an effort to raise money for an organization that helps the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
Since the beginning of the year, at least 54 officers have been killed in the line of duty. Four of those officers were from New England. In March, Connecticut State Trooper Kevin Miller was killed in a crash on Route 84 while on duty. A month later, Yarmouth Sergeant Sean Gannon was shot and killed while serving a warrant at a home in Barnstable. A week after Gannon’s death, Cpl. Sheriff Eugene Cole was killed while responding to a robbery at a convenience store in Maine. In July, Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna was shot and killed with his own gun while responding to a car crash.
“It’s nothing they’ll recover from anytime soon,” East Providence Lt. Raymond Blinn said. “It lasts many years.”
Rhode Island is unfortunately familiar with the heartbreak of an officer being killed while on duty. In February 1994, Providence Police Sergeant Steven Shaw was killed while responding to a robbery.
“The guy was hiding in the closet… shot him in the back of the head,” Robert Shaw, Steven’s father, said. “It’ll be 25 years in February, we still have contact with parents we hooked up with in ’96.”
Robert Shaw said Steven’s death devastated his family, but the support they found two years later by connecting with Concerns Of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) changed everything.
“You’re not talking with professionals, you’re talking with someone who’s already lost their mother or lost their father,” Robert Shaw explained.
Blinn said the East Providence Police Department understands how crucial the role of C.O.P.S. plays in helping the families of fallen officers. That’s why it hosted the golf tournament to raise money to keep the organization running.
“They deal with the emotional support, they offer summer camps for kids, they come and sit with the family during the first few days after that,” Blinn explained. “We thought it’d be an appropriate time to maybe help them out a little bit with some fundraising.”
Blinn said the goal was to raise approximately $7,000 for the organization throughout the tournament. Anyone who wants to donate to the organization can donate here.