LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation is hoping to raise funds to cover funeral costs for the four officers who died while on active duty in recent weeks.
Retired Sgt. Alan Atkins says he’s been handling one funeral after another as the head of the small non-profit – and the sudden deaths have shaken the community.
“We’re all a family, so yes it does affect everyone, and when you have so many in such a short time it affects people,” Atkins said.
Contrary to popular belief, the donation-based organization foots the bills for officers’ funerals – not the department or city.
Until weeks ago, the department hadn’t had an on-duty death since 2008. But that has changed within the past two months.
Officer Roberto Sanchez was killed in a hit-and-run this past weekend. Officers Chris Cortijo and Nicholas Lee were also killed in traffic accidents weeks apart. And a fourth officer, George Nagata, died from an on-duty heart attack this weekend.
“Funerals are expensive. If you are killed in the line of duty, yes, it impacts the funds,” Atkins said. “We wanted to take that burden off the family.”
The foundation also takes on the burden of paying for college tuition for dependents of all officers who die while active, like the two daughters of officer Lee.
That’s why they’re hoping their annual Celebrity Golf Tournament at the end of the month gets enough support this year, to keep supporting the families of fallen officers.
More information about the event, hosted this year by Dennis Quaid, is available on the LA Police Memorial Foundation’s website.