Line of Duty survivors want to help family of slain officer - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Line of Duty survivors want to help family of slain officer

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Jennifer, Kat and Brandon Thacker Jennifer, Kat and Brandon Thacker
Jennifer Thacker Jennifer Thacker
Kat Thacker Kat Thacker
C.O.P.S: Concerns Of Police Survivors, a group that offers support to line of duty spouses, children, siblings, parents, even co-workers. C.O.P.S: Concerns Of Police Survivors, a group that offers support to line of duty spouses, children, siblings, parents, even co-workers.
Timothy Doyle Timothy Doyle

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The widow of slain Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis said the community support means everything to her family right now.  As the weeks, months and years pass, the Ellis family will continue to need that help.  Those who know what it's like to lose an officer in the line of duty said the shock of the Bardstown officer's murder is the reason why they took action: To help other survivors like Amy Ellis and her two boys.

"It's not something that's going to be over when the funeral's over," said Jennifer Thacker.

Thacker knows grieving will be a life-long process for Amy Ellis and her two young sons. She knows, because she's the National Outreach Director for C.O.P.S: Concerns Of Police Survivors, a group that offers support to line of duty spouses, children, siblings, parents, even co-workers, like Jason Ellis's fellow officers.

She also knows what it's like as a widow of an officer killed in the line of duty.

Brandon Thacker, a 27-year-old Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Control Officer from Louisville, was working a detail in Western Kentucky. As Thacker tried to stop Timothy Doyle, an erratic driver on the Western Kentucky Parkway, Doyle pulled a gun and shot Thacker April 16, 1998.

"The kind of the randomness of it, is similar to what happened in Bardstown," Jennifer Thacker said, "It's unexplainable, why did this person pick my husband?"

Like Officer Ellis, Officer Thacker is also remembered for his sense of humor. "He was great at telling jokes," his widow remembered, "He always made people laugh."

Timothy Doyle was found mentally ill and served only 10 years of his 20 year sentence for killing an officer. The judicial system is part of the anger a family may deal with. There's also the stress of raising children alone.  Jennifer and Brandon Thacker had an 18-month-old daughter Katherine.

Now 16, "Kat", a Sacred Heart Junior-to-be still struggles. "The guilt of not knowing him and not remembering him," she explained, "And he's not going to be at my wedding."

Kat said she would be lost if she hadn't met other kids going through the same thing she was in C.O.P.S camps. If she could talk to Officer Ellis's boys,  she would tell them that their father died keeping the public safe, and this: "To know that their dad is watching over them," she said, "I mean it's a great feeling having a dad as an angel and a hero, it's the best feeling in the world."

C.O.P.S. is free to all survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The program is funded by federal grants, corporate sponsors and your donations. With an average 150 officers killed in the line of duty every year, C.O.P.S. has chapters around the country, including Greater Louisville. For information on C.O.P.S. click here.

Copyright 2013 WAVE News. All rights reserved.

 

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