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Group offers support for families of fallen officers

Updated: 04/05/2014 10:20 PM | Created: 04/05/2014 10:09 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

This week, protesters, activists and politicians have all had something to say about recent Albuquerque police shootings.

Saturday, KOB Eyewitness News 4 talked to a group on the other side of things: families who have lost loved ones to dangers faced in the line of duty.

“We know that when they go to work something might happen to them,” Cheryl Schultz said. “That's part of the acceptance of that lifestyle.”

Schultz’s husband Kevin died in 2002. He drowned after rescuing a twelve-year-old boy knocked unconscious in the Rio Grande in Pilar, New Mexico.

“We have had to rebuild our lives from this totally shattered situation,” Schultz said.

Schultz has found support through the group “Concerns of Police Survivors.” The group plans officer memorials and advocates for officers and their families.

She wants the community to know what they have gone through and to think of “the other side of things.” She worries recent criticism will get in officers heads, putting them in danger.

“I do not want them to be worried about hesitating for that split second decision because that's what costs people lives and that's what injures people and that's the type of thing that happens when somebody has to hesitate and they second guess themselves,” Schultz said.

Also at today’s meeting was Sharon Valtierra, whose husband is a living, retired APD officer. She is also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police Auxiliary. She volunteers with COPS to help families who have lost a loved one have a special memorial.

“Getting involved with that it was a way I could give back without sitting in those chairs,” Valtierra said.

Pulling from her own experiences after some of the situations her husband dealt with, she asks those who are angry with police to take a step back.

“Nobody knows what the officer is facing,” Valtierra said. “They see split little pieces on the news media. They don't know what happened in the seconds before that piece started. They don't know what happened ten minutes before that. They don't know the full story. So let it play out in the legal system, let it play out in the department, let it play out where it needs to play out.”

The group is only for family, close friends and co-workers of fallen officers, but they do need the community’s help to fund-raise and plan events. To learn more and contact them, visit http://www.newmexicocops.org/index.htm.


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