"When a police officer is killed, it’s not an agency that loses an officer, it’s an entire nation," said Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder.
Apps are usually meant to seize new business opportunities, make revenue and become successful. However, this is not always the goal. Along with making it possible for the long elaborated ideas to come true, some founders are aiming at building something valuable for society and quite often without profit bringing opportunities.
The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. (ODMP) is a non-profit organization and a website founded by Chris Cosgriff back in 1996. ODMP is dedicated to honoring the law enforcement heroes who fell fulfilling their duties of protecting citizens. Now ODMP is one of the most visited memorials in the world that commemorates American and Canadian law enforcement officers.
It is a great honor for us to be involved into building an Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP) app for both iPhone and Android. We are glad to make a contribution in paying a lasting tribute to each of the officers who died in the line of duty.
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What gave Chris a nudge to create ODMP
People come up with great ideas in the state of happiness, sometimes sorrow, sometimes inspired by others or enlightened in a dream, but Chris Cosgriff created ODMP out of anger.
It happened at James Madison university where Chris studied integrated science and technology.
After reading two articles in the Washington Post reflecting injustice and the lack of honor to the officers killed on duty, Chris got mad.
One of the articles on the front page featured a story about a man, who claimed to be rehabilitated after 16 years of prison for murdering two police officers. As Cosgriff found out later, this man robbed a bank two years after the release. He committed suicide cornered by police officers as they chased him and was never rehabilitated in the end.
The other article Cosgriff came across contained two paragraphs in the middle of a section saying a female police officer was killed on duty. Those two cases gave birth to ODMP. "I just didn’t think it was right. So I decided that I wanted to do something. About the only thing I knew how to do at that point was creating web pages. So I sat down and created one," Cosgriff says in Montpelier (the James Madison University magazine).
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How a website created by a freshman in the dorm became the most respected law enforcement site on the Internet
After the altruist student got a thanking letter from a twin brother of Bryant Peney -- a killed police officer that Cosgriff placed on the memorial, he got the understanding of the importance of what he was doing. So he started researching the circumstances of the fallen on duty officers and preserving the memories of them within the website pages. The Officer Down Memorial Page became visited by families of the fallen, law enforcement communities and all those who care.
Not long afterwards, ODMP gained support from the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund, Inc., which gave access to information about thousands of heroes died in the line of duty since 1790’s.
Tremendous work Cosgriff and Mike Shutz (volunteered with ODMP in 1997) did over the years of investigating long-forgotten LODDs (line of duty deaths), has turned into a research tool for academics and historians, as well as a teaching resource for police departments across the whole country.
Alongside with honoring law enforcement officers, ODMP provides resources and benefits for affected families and police departments. This is made possible through partnership with the DOJ’s Public Safety Officer Benefit program.
Right now ODMP honors over 21,000 American police officers who were killed in the line of duty. It works closely with The United States Department of Justice and Concerns of Police Survivors to share information about financial benefits and support programs available to the survivors of American nation’s fallen heroes.
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Significance of ODMP is a matter of life and death
The whole idea of ODMP sounds very sad and visiting their website doesn’t make people happy. However, paying tribute to heroism of the honorable dead is not the only value that the online memorial possesses. The organization’s main goal is to achieve zero information about killed officers to be seen on the pages of ODMP app.
"Our goal is to put ourselves out of business," said Cosgriff and Shutz to the Law Officer magazine.
For that reason ODMP is concentrating on reducing LODDs and eliminating preventable deaths. They have established partnerships with different programs, such as Vest for Life and Law Officer’s Below 100 initiative and use the information they gather to train officers so that their families will never have to see them in the list of the fallen.
ODMP has a status of 501©(3) non-profit organization that receives donations from those who would like to support it.
The Officer Down Memorial Page mobile app
No officer death should be left behind and ODMP makes everything possible to prevent that happen. With a wish to build a valuable mobile extension to ODMP website, Cosgriff turned to us. To tell the truth, the idea of ODMP impressed and even puzzled our team and we put a lot of efforts into making the app meet the vision of the organization. We really hope that our contribution to the memorial of heroes will provide a worthy service for the community.
The application has received good feedbacks from users and proved to be functional and helpful. It provides an interactive statistic dashboard that visualizes LODD trends, heat maps picturing LODDs by states, as well as line of duty death notifications. To receive a grave message about a killed officer is highly distressing but I believe fallen on duty officers deserve being honored even by those who have no connection to law enforcement community. Just like John Donne once wrote: «...never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.»
I would like to end this story about the Officer Down Memorial Page with a feedback of our art director at Yalantis, Dmitry Prudnikov, who created design for the ODMP app and can express the attitude to this project probably better than anyone else in our team:
«It was a truly glorious projects that I was lucky to work on. The realization of the significance of the idea of building a place for remembering fallen officers is something that makes you feel proud of being involved. It was a pleasure to work with Chris and I am happy to get to know such a remarkable person.»
In conclusion, we can’t but say that we wish ODMP to reach its goal of eliminating preventable deaths among law enforcement officers and keep being a place of memories of the heroism and courage of those who give their lives in the name of duty.