They are sobering numbers, ones that motivate David Post and the others who run the nonprofit "Care for Cops." On average, a police officer is killed in the line of duty every 53 hours. In Georgia, which ranks fifth nationally in law enforcement deaths, the average age of those killed is 38 and on average they leave behind a spouse and two children.
Based in Gwinnett, "Care for Cops" aids the families of the fallen officers, helping more than 35 Georgia families since 2004. Now CEO of Future Security Inc., Post is a former policeman who knows all too well the demands, and dangers, of the job.
"When a police officer is killed, they come from all over to attend (the funeral), even if they might not know the person. It makes you remember what a large family (the law enforcement community) is," Post said. "There's no other job like it, where you go out every day and don't know if you're coming home at night.
"It's almost like being a preacher. You have to be called to do this."
Post started his full-time police career with the Roswell Police Department before later going into private security. He still serves as a reserve deputy for the Gwinnett Sheriff's Department and in many ways "Care for Cops" has been his calling since the organization began about 13 years ago. He came up with the name and the logo and has concentrated ever since, with the backing of his board of directors, on raising funds to assist the families of fallen officers.
But the group also wants to raise awareness for the work it is doing, which is why it has added the "Cops & Joggers 5K" run to be held Nov. 3 in historic downtown Buford. The race will serve as the organization's second major fundraiser (it held a golf tournament in July) and Post hopes it will also help spread the word about "Care for Cops" for those who would like to help.
"That's what we need to do," Post said. "We need to raise the awareness."
A Duluth resident, Post represents "Care for Cops" at the funeral when a police officer is killed in the line of duty. And his group helps ensure that a check is sent to the family quickly to help with any need that might occur before insurance or other help arrives.
"We give them money immediately to help with their bills, their food and their kids," Post said. "The reality is when an officer is killed in Georgia, I'm going to go to the funeral and see the family.
"The moments that stick with me are the times in my career are the funerals that I attend with the families of young officers that will never see their children get out of grade school, or the young children of those officers that don't understand where their daddy is. It doesn't take much to feel the pain of these families."
Todd Cline can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.