April was another month without any line of duty deaths, and for that we are so grateful. But it was a month of reflection of the Officers who we had lost in this month from previous years. We reflected on the memory, service and sacrifice of the following Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty:
April 3rd, 2021 Officer Brent Hall of the Newton Grove Police Department was killed in a vehicle crash after suffering a medical emergency. Officer Hall had served with the Newton Grove Police Department for two years and had served in law enforcement for five years. He is survived by his parents, sister and niece.
April 10, 2022 K9 Major of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office was shot and killed while attempting the apprehension of an armed robbery suspect. K9 Major had served with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office for three years and leaves behind his handler, Deputy Lariviere.
April 28, 2021 Deputy Fox and Sergeant Ward of the Watauga County Sheriff's Office were both shot and killed while responding to a welfare check. Sergeant Ward had served his community for 8 years, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. Deputy Fox had served for 2 years, leaving behind his father, sister, and fiancée.
We hold their families both blood and blue in our thoughts and prayers.
On April 5th lawmakers met at the Legislative Building in downtown Raleigh to discuss the Gabe Torres Act; named in honor of Raleigh Police Officer Torres killed on his way to work the day of the Hedingham shooting. The bill passed the House Committee on State Personnel unanimously and then referred to the House Committee on Pensions and Retirement.
"House Bill 363 would expand death benefits to public safety employees who are en route, engaged in or returning from duty. Gabriel Torres' death was not covered under North Carolina's current death benefit law because he was not yet on duty yet."
We will keep you updated on any future developments. If this bill becomes law, the Torres family would end up receiving death benefits because it is retroactive to January 1, 2022.
Every year, the second full week of April is dedicated to the men and women who serve as Public Safety Telecommunicators in the United States. In 1991, Congress proclaimed it a national week of recognition.
Public safety agencies nationwide recognize the critical role played by Public Safety Telecommunicators. These professionals are true “first responders.” They are the people who are answering the calls and directing First Responders, they are the most critical contact citizens have with emergency services. Thank you Dispatchers!
On April 11th our Founder and CEO Lindsay LiCausi and Digital Media Producer Gary Ushino attended a special memorial ceremony with the Raleigh Police Department to honor Officer Gabriel Torres. Special guests included Gabe’s wife Jasmin, daughter Layla, and North Carolina State Representatives Sarah Crawford and Erin Pare. Founder/CEO Lindsay LiCausi was recognized during the memorial presentation on behalf of Back The Blue NC, for raising money to assist Mrs. Torres and her daughter.
From an article by ABC11, "It was really just a heartfelt reach out to the family," said Lindsay LiCausi with Back the Blue NC. LiCausi was also recognized at Tuesday's presentation. "(RPD) let them know we understand your pain. Maybe not as much as you are dealing with it. But, we are here, we are your family. You can always rely on us."
North Carolina State Representatives Sarah Crawford and Erin Pare with Jasmin Torres (wife of Gabriel Torres)
Our first Basic Law Enforcement Training Scholarship in Deputy Ned Byrd's name will be awarded this summer for the upcoming Sept. 11th academy class at Wake Tech. The recipient will be selected with consideration to both merit and financial need. If you would like to help us carry on Deputy Byrd's legacy by sponsoring more future cadets please donate and share!
Fallen Wake County Deputy Ned Byrd was all about training the next generation, so it is only fitting that we've established a scholarship for cadets attending Wake Tech's BLET program in his name. We will consider one cadet per academy class who is not already sponsored by an agency, but wants to make a difference through policing, and offer them a full scholarship. If you are interested in donating to our Deputy Ned Byrd Scholarship Fund you can easily donate online at: https://fundthefirst.com/campaign/deputy-byrd-blet-scholarship-h7eiqs Through PayPal: https://paypal.me/btbnc Or by check to: Back The Blue NC, Inc. P.O. Box 78 Franklinton, NC 27525 Memo: Ned Byrd Scholarship Fund
On April 25 our Chairman Gadi Adelman spoke to ABC11 regarding AG Stein's push to hire more Law Enforcement Officers.
"They're not going into it because of the money. They're going to do that because they want to help the community," he said.
Adelman said he believes incentives and sign-on bonuses are a great effort. But, retention is still a major part.
"It's got to be a conglomerate of all these things," Adelman said."Support the local police, let your politicians know, and give them incentives. And let's turn this thing around because they are the only thing standing between us and the bad guys. And if you don't have the good guys out there, everyone is going to have to fend for themselves, and I don't want to have to think about what that would be like."
On April 26 Fayetteville Police Officer Tavarez-Rodriguez and his wife were found dead in their home due to gunshot wounds after the Officer failed to report for duty last night. The investigation is being conducted by the SBI and is being considered as a murder/suicide. Please keep the Fayetteville Police Department and all affected friends and family in your thoughts and prayers. If you or somebody you know is struggling please reach out to our confidential Chaplain Angela Pleasants at firstname.lastname@example.org or local mental health resources.
If you would like to assist us in supporting the children and families of Law Enforcement Officers killed in the line of duty you can join our 10-33 Assistance Program at www.backthebluenc.org/1033 to subscribe as a monthly donor. For as little as 34 cents a day you can help make a difference in our community. 100% of your donation goes to assist the families of the fallen.