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The Lake News Online
  • Dianne Bernhard starts as Executive Director of C.O.P.S.

  • Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) welcomed a new Executive Director on Monday, March 17, at the C.O.P.S. National Headquarters in Camdenton.
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  • Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) welcomed a new Executive Director on Monday, March 17, at the C.O.P.S. National Headquarters in Camdenton. Former Deputy Chief of the Columbia, Mo. Police Department, Dianne Bernhard, officially started her new role with the organization that represents more than 32,000 survivors of officers who have died in the line of duty.
    Bernhard was offered the position at the Feb. 8, 2014, National C.O.P.S. Board Meeting held in Osage Beach.
    Bernhard retired from the Columbia Police Department after 21 years.
    She became familiar with the C.O.P.S. mission of “Rebuilding Shattered Lives” when her co-worker, Columbia Police Officer Molly Bowden, was killed in the line of duty in 2005.  She has been aware of the great care that C.O.P.S. gave to the officer’s family ever since Bowden’s death. 
    “I am excited about the opportunity to work as a part of the C.O.P.S. organization,” says Bernhard. “We will continue to provide the exceptional quality of services our survivors have received throughout the history of this organization as we continue to move forward in amazing ways.”
    The C.O.P.S. organization has 54 chapters across the nation and is headquartered in Camdenton.
    Suzie Sawyer, Executive Director Emeritus and Founder of C.O.P.S., will remain as an advisor and help make the transition for Bernhard a smooth one.
    “I’m delighted to pass the reins off to Dianne and she’s acknowledged how important C.O.P.S. history is to build on our programs and take C.O.P.S. to a higher level. I am hoping she will stay at C.O.P.S. for a very long time and be that ‘constant’ within the organization that I get to experience,” says Sawyer. “She has no idea how amazed she’ll be by the resiliency of the surviving families and the dedication of the current staff to the C.O.P.S. mission.”
    With 2014 marking the 30th anniversary of C.O.P.S., Bernhard and staff will travel together to Washington, DC, the week of May 11-17 for National Police Week to honor all officers who died in the line of duty in 2013.
    Each year, C.O.P.S. hosts the National Police Survivors’ Conference where surviving family members and affected co-workers have the opportunity to find support and understanding from other survivors, receive access to mental health professionals, and attend seminar sessions to help with grief.
    To show your support for the families of America’s fallen law enforcement officers, please visit www.nationalcops.org.
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