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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

0240.10 Line of Duty Death

240.10   LINE OF DUTY DEATH

Refer:    

  • DIR 218.00  Honor Guard/Highland Guard
  • DIR 240.00  Employment Assistance Office
  • DIR 612.10  Death Messages
  • DIR 631.34  Critical Incident Notification
  • DIR 1010.10  Deadly Physical Force

 

POLICY (240.10)

The Bureau will provide support and emotional care to immediate survivors of a member who is killed in the line-of-duty or who dies a natural or accidental death. The wishes of the family regarding funeral arrangements take priority over the desires of the Bureau.

PROCEDURE (240.10)

Directive Specific Definitions

Beneficiary: The person designated by the member as recipients of specific death benefits.

Death benefits: The financial payments made to the family to ensure financial stability following the loss of a loved one.

Family Liaison Officer: Preferably a member(s) who is close to the family and able to provide needed support without causing him/herself undue emotional stress. Honor Guard and Highland Guard: Special units that provide assistance with funeral functions such as ushers, guards for the body, rifle salutes, bagpipers and liaisons with other agencies’ Honor Guards and representatives.

Incident Supervisor: The Personnel Division manager (Personnel) or designee, who will oversee all line-of duty death/natural death incidents and act as liaison with Chief of Police’s Office, the affected member’s RU manager and the Police Liaison Officer.

Line-of-duty death: Any action, felonious or accidental, which claims the life of a member who is performing work-related functions while on or off duty.

Notification team: At least two designees, appointed by the member’s RU manager, who will follow the notification procedure.

Police Liaison Officer (PLO): The Bureau’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Coordinator who will coordinate the events following the line-of-duty death, including acting as liaison between the Bureau and the family and coordinating all benefits to which the survivors are entitled. The Personnel Lieutenant and Sergeant, along with the Disability Benefits Coordinator will provide assistance and support to the PLO. The EAP office will coordinate the appropriate response from all EAP volunteer groups, including the Traumatic Incident Committee, Peer Support Team, Chaplains, Police Alcohol and Recovery Team.

Survivors: The immediate family members of the deceased member, including the spouse, domestic partner, children, parent, siblings, fiancé and/or significant others.

Notification (240.10)

a.  It shall be the responsibility of the affected member’s RU manager to notify the next of kin of a member who has suffered severe injuries or who has died. The RU manager may personally make the notification or designate at least two members to make the notification.

b.  The member’s RU manager should immediately notify the EAP Coordinator.

c.  The Chief of Police will be notified immediately by the member’s RU manager.

d.  Notification should always be made in person and with more than one member present, as long as the survivors are in the area. A team could include a chaplain or other appropriate designee. Notification may also include the need to transport the next of kin to the treating medical facility. Upon receiving word of severe injury or death of a member, do not wait. Immediately after notification, transport the next of kin to the treating medical facility.

e.  If an immediate survivor or a family member of the affected Bureau member has a known medical problem such as a heart condition, high blood pressure, etc., medical personnel should be available at the time of death notification.

f.   Take special care to avoid making a death notification on the doorstep. Once inside the home, find out who is present in the home in order to gather everyone together, to prevent some family members, especially children, from overhearing the news from another room inside the home.

g.  If specifics of the incident are known, relay as much of the information as you have. Be sure to use the member’s name during the notification. If the member has died, state that the member has died or is dead. Do not give a false hope by using softer words such as gone away or passed away.

h.  If the family insists on driving themselves to the treating medical facility, a Bureau member should accompany them.

i.   If young children are in the home and childcare is required, the Notification Team shall assist in arranging for childcare. This may involve calling a co-worker, spouse(s), Peer Support, transportation for the children to the home of a friend or relative or similar arrangement.

j.   Prior to departing for the treating medical facility, the Notification Team should call ahead to notify the medical personnel and the Police Liaison Officer of the family’s impending arrival.

k.  If possible, the parents of the deceased or severely injured member should also be afforded the courtesy of a personal notification, as well as family support from the Bureau.

l.   If immediate survivors live outside the area, the member’s RU manager will ensure a personal notification by teletype or telephoning the appropriate jurisdiction authority with details of the incident so they may give the notification.

m. The name of the deceased or severely injured member(s) should never be released to the media until the next of kin is notified and the Chief of Police has granted permission for the release of the name(s). If the media discovers the name, they should be asked to respect the survivors and withhold the name pending notification of the next of kin.

Assistance for Affected Members (240.10)

a.  In deadly force situations, involved members and witness members will be handled in accordance with DIR 1010.10.

b.  In other cases where a member dies or is severely injured members directly involved (defined in DIR 1010.10) may be given altered duty status (as outlined in DIR 1010.10) at their RU manager’s discretion.

c.  Members who are adversely affected but not directly involved may be given altered duty status (outlined in DIR 1010.10) at their RU manager’s discretion.

d.  The member’s RU manager will ensure the names of all affected member(s) are given to the Chief of Police and EAP. EAP will ensure that each of the affected member(s) is contacted and provided any needed resources.

e.  The EAP Coordinator will provide appropriate assistance for all PPB members who are emotionally affected by the serious injury/death of a bureau member. The EAP Coordinator may provide assistance if appropriate to outside agencies.

Assistance at the Medical Facility (240.10)

a.  The PLO will ensure the family is greeted at the medical facility and given the updated condition of the member upon arrival.

b.  The PLO will work with the treating medical facility staff to ensure an appropriate waiting area is readied for the family, the Chief of Police, and others as requested by the family. The PLO will also establish a separate waiting area for fellow Bureau members and friends. In addition, the PLO will need to establish an appropriate staging area for the media.

c.  The EAP office will ensure support is organized for all family members and affected Bureau members as needed.

d.  The PLO will ensure medical personnel relay pertinent information regarding a member’s condition to the family on a timely basis and prior to the information being released to others.

e.  The PLO will ensure, to the degree possible, that all medical bills are directed to the appropriate persons in order to keep the family from receiving any of these bills at their house.

f.   The Notification Team will remain with the family at the treating medical facility until the Family Liaison Officer(s) (FLO) replaces them. The responsible RU manager will temporarily designate the FLO in the event there is no member readily available to supply relief to the Notification Team, thereby providing continuous support for the family. Either the Notification Team or the FLO will arrange for transportation home for the family, whoever happens to be present when the family needs to return home. If the designated team is unable to stay, arrangements will be made through the PLO to find replacements before they leave the family.

Support of Family during Funeral Planning (240.10)

a.  Unless initiated by the family, no discussion of funeral arrangements will occur until 24 hours have passed from the time of death.

b.  The PLO will coordinate with the FLO and family to lend assistance to the funeral planning process.

c.  The PLO will coordinate the funeral plans for the family with the Incident Supervisor and the available resources of the Bureau.

d.  The Public Information Officer (PIO) and PLO will coordinate information for the media to assist the family and the Bureau.

e.  The PLO will coordinate in advance with the appropriate member bargaining unit, if applicable, the EAP Coordinator’s Office and any other resources regarding any assistance offered and/or needed by the Bureau or the family such as food, limousines, hotel rooms for out of town guests, etc.

f.   The FLO will keep in contact with the PLO about any changing plans, needs or desires of the family.

g.  The FLO will work with the member’s RU manager to ensure the family has contact on a daily basis for six to eight weeks, so long as such frequent contact is not contrary to the wishes of the family.

h.  The FLO will work with EAP to ensure emotional support and food is provided to the family as needed.

Bureau’s Role in Funeral Planning (240.10)

a.  The PLO, a representative from the Traffic Division, a representative from the appropriate member bargaining unit, if applicable, the PIO and a representative from the Honor Guard and Highland Guard, will meet as soon as possible after the family and their funeral director have met, to coordinate family and Bureau plans.

b.  The Incident Supervisor will present the concerns, ideas and wishes of the Command Staff, including discussion of financial arrangements for a reception, with updates, as the reception is being planned.

c.  An itinerary will be developed identifying the sites, initial traffic routes, and basic services as requested by the family.

d.  Assignments for organization of activities will be made by the Incident Supervisor. A press release may be necessary at this time to give preliminary information on funeral plans.

e.  Arrangements will attempt to be made and confirmed within 48 hours or sooner if necessary.

f.   As soon as plans are finalized, the PIO’s office will be notified to begin producing a program. The PLO will provide the necessary information.

g.  The Forensic Evidence Division (Forensics) or Personnel may be contacted for employee pictures they have on file of the deceased. The family should be asked for their approval of any photograph used.

h.  The Incident Supervisor will call a final planning meeting with all affected parties to discuss the plans and any further concerns.

i.   Final plans will be announced to the media through the PIO with the approval of the Chief of Police and the family.

Honor Guard Coordinator (240.10)

a.  If appropriate, a teletype will be issued by the Honor Guard Coordinator to include:

1.  Name of the deceased.

2.  Date and time of death.

3.  Circumstances surrounding death.

4.  Funeral arrangements (whether the funeral is private or police service).

5.  Uniform to be worn.

6.  Expressions of sympathy in lieu of flowers.

7.  Contact person’s name and phone number/pager number for visiting departments.

b.  Arrange for the casket watch at the funeral home.

c.  Assist the family in obtaining any clothing/uniform items needed for dressing the deceased member.

d.  Coordinate visiting agencies.

e.  Coordinate the ushering duties.

f.   Obtain a flag for presentation if appropriate.

g.  Coordinate with other agencies’ Honor Guards.

h.  Work closely with the Incident Supervisor to provide any further assistance as directed.

Police Liaison Officer’s Role (240.10)

a.  Ensure the families are supported and cared for by the Bureau and that the families’ wishes are honored.

b.  Coordinate with the Incident Supervisor and the PIO to avoid conflict with family wishes.

c.  Be responsible for gathering information on all benefits/funeral payments available to the family.

d.  Be responsible for filling out the appropriate paper work for benefits and will follow through to ensure the family is receiving benefits to which they are entitled.

e.  Set up and administer any special trust funds.

f.   Determine what the health benefits will be and if payments are necessary to continue the coverage for the family.

g.  Continue to contact and be a resource for the family to assist with related problems as needed.

h.  Communicate with the community, the family and the Bureau in the support of the family regarding any honors or special requests.

i.   Assist the Family Liaison Officer during the investigation and any court-related proceedings.

j.   Provide information to professional organizations such as COPS, Fraternal Order of Police, etc.

k.  Provide on-going updates to the appropriate bargaining units through theIncident Supervisor.