On Dec. 25, 1997, patrolman Mark Allen Swaney of the Davidson Police Department was struck and killed by a suspect’s gunfire while responding to a disturbance call on Mock Street.
Though 17 years have passed, Swaney’s memory is honored through the Citizen’s Police Officer Relief Fund, a not-for-profit philanthropic organization that helps families of fallen or disabled Davidson police officers hurt in the line of duty.
The idea for the fund originated in August 2013, when a committee of concerned Davidson residents met to discuss if there was plan in place to provide immediate help to families of police officers and firefighters if they were ever to be killed or seriously injured in the line of duty. They learned the firefighters had a program; however there was not anything for police officers. The idea for the Citizen’s Police Officer Relief Fund was born.
The committee began by identifying two needs for families – for advocacy and for stopgap measures that would provide immediate financial resources.
For advocacy, the committee enlisted the help of the North Carolina chapter of COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors). This organization of volunteers is well-versed in handling paperwork, filing insurance claims and ensuring that all documentation is correct when a tragedy happens. These volunteers trained Davidson Police Chief Jeanne Miller and two additional officers in how to fully access their services, in case the need should ever arise.
Because insurance and benefits for fallen officers can take a great length of time to kick in, the group also saw a need for availability of immediate resources to, as co-chair Mickey Pettus put it, “Get families over the hump.” These funds can be used for paying mortgages or sending a fallen officer’s child to summer camp.
The idea for the fund comes from a long-standing appreciation for the work done by the Davidson Police Department, many of whom live in town. “They’re not just family; they’re our family,” said Pettus.
Pettus encourages residents of Davidson to donate to the fund. “Davidson citizens care. Out of tragedy we support the innocence of victims’ lives that must go on, remembering the sacrifice of service they make with their loved one, to protect us and to keep the order in our community. We ask every citizen, business and organization to be a part of the care that is Davidson.”
The committee has raised about $15,000. No Davidson police officer has been killed in the line of duty since Mark Allen Swaney. Swaney Lane, near the soccer fields in the River Run neighborhood, is named in his honor.
Amy Reiss is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Amy? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to help?
Tax-deductible donations may be made payable to: Davidson Police Officer Relief Fund Inc. c/o the Town of Davidson, P.O. Box 2270, Davidson, NC 28036. This fund is supported entirely bydonations of residents, organizations and businesses of Davidson.