During natural disasters, human-made disasters or other crisis events, law enforcement officers are generally required to remain on duty for extended periods of time. Such calls to duty often result in officers’ long absences from home and infrequent communication with their families. During times of disaster, officers can reasonably be expected to be quite concerned about the safety of their families. When disaster strikes, it is too late to establish a plan of action, especially when law enforcement families are victims themselves. Establishing a family disaster plan prior to an event will ease the struggle and suffering felt by everyone involved.
The Law Enforcement Families Readiness Initiative (LEFRI) was designed to develop guidance for law enforcement agencies to develop and implement a law enforcement family readiness plan in the event of disaster and other crisis-type situations. Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, and implemented by the National Fraternal Order of Police Foundation, the LEFRI project worked to develop educational and other support materials for agencies, officers and families to use when preparing for disaster-type scenarios and extended absences from home due to the officer’s call to duty. The project developed a model policy that law enforcement agencies in rural, suburban and urban areas can use to guide officer and family preparedness activities before a prolonged crisis event occurs.
Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government launched a nationwide campaign to improve the preparedness of all Americans. September was declared National Preparedness Month. Websites like www.ready.gov were heavily promoted and numerous high-ranking federal officials and other public leaders worked to raise awareness about the importance of being prepared. Our research suggests a similar need for an information clearinghouse and greater emphasis on preparedness for law enforcement officers and their families. To this end, this website, as well as links to regularly updated preparedness material, have been incorporated to help law enforcement agencies, officers and their families recognize the importance of preparedness and provide them with the tools to implement their own plans.