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+9

Developing a Mourning Band Protocol

Steve Weiss, The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.

The mourning band is the traditional way for a law enforcement officer to publicly mourn the death of a fellow officer. A common request received at the Officer Down Memorial Page is for information on how and when to wear a mourning band. While there is no national standard, it is important that each agency has a written protocol regarding the wearing of mourning bands.

Because there is no national standard, it is important that each individual agency has its own mourning band policy. The following guidelines provide a good starting point for any agency that is attempting to create such a policy. Once an agency establishes its mourning band policy it is important, for the sake of uniformity, that each officer strictly adheres to the policy.

The following are suggested guidelines for the wearing of mourning bands.

For agencies with multiple precincts or stations, such as a state police agency or large city / county department

  1. Wear a mourning band upon the line of duty death of any member of the agency
  2. Members of the officer’s precinct / station should wear the mourning band from the time of death until 2400 hours 30 days following the death
  3. Members of the officer’s agency that are assigned to precincts / stations other than the one to which the officer who died was assigned should wear the mourning band from the time of death until 2400 hours the day of the funeral

For agencies with only one station, such as smaller town police departments or sheriff’s departments

  1. Wear a mourning band upon the line of duty death of any member of the agency
  2. Wear the mourning band from the time of death until 30 days following the line of duty death
  3. Wear a mourning band upon the line of duty death of any law enforcement officer within the county where your agency is located from the time of death until 2400 hours the day of the funeral

For all agencies, regardless of size

  1. Wear a mourning band at the line of duty funeral of any law enforcement officer, or member of the United States armed forces, who died in the performance of duty
  2. Wear a mourning band at the non line of duty funeral of any active law enforcement officer or retired law enforcement officer
  3. Wear a mourning band on May 15th, National Peace Officers Memorial Day, each year (United States flags should also be flown at half mast on this day)
  4. Wear a mourning band at any line of duty memorials, such as wall or plaque dedications.

In addition to having a written policy regarding when a mourning band should be worn, it is also important that each agency has a policy regarding how it should be worn. Some important points of such a policy are:

  1. For round, square and “shield” type badges, the mourning band should be horizontal on the badge and centered half way between the top and bottom.
  2. For star shaped badges, the mourning band should be diagonal, going from right to left, with the high point on the right.
  3. Never allow a mourning band to cover a badge number.

+9
  • Photo_user_blank_big

    bailiffs

    almost 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    what would be the protocol for wearing mourning bands if they weren't killed in the line of duty but died of natural causes while still employed with that department? Would it still be up until the day of the funeral or just on the day of the funeral?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    mike1982

    almost 7 years ago

    2 Comments

    i hope and pray that the only time that anyone has to wear the band is on the officers memorial week.

  • Surf_2014_max50

    TheSarge

    almost 7 years ago

    1452 Comments

    We're fortunate to not have had an in-the-line-of-duty-death since the early 1970's. Although we have had our neighboring agency colleagues killed, we seem to have dodged the bullet, sort of speak. Yes, we would probably wear a band for 30 days if it was one of our guys. We have, however, been wearing a blue ribbon pin for a long time for a sergeant who was broadsided while on duty by a guy driving a stolen truck. He has been in a coma for 5 years.

  • New-patch_max50

    SMW4747

    almost 7 years ago

    1168 Comments

    The only problem I have with taking them off the night of the funeral, is that you only end up wearing the band for a few days, or, maybe just one day, depending on the religion of the officer that was killed. That's why, for a member of YOUR agency, I think 30 days in appropriate. For members of a neighboring agency, taking it off the day of the funeral would be fine.

  • Surf_2014_max50

    TheSarge

    almost 7 years ago

    1452 Comments

    Our agency is just shy of 300 sworn. Here are a couple of simple protocols we generally observe: We wear a mourning band upon notification of death. We retire the mourning band at sunset on the day of the funeral. The wearing of the mourning band for a longer period can be observed based on the uniqueness of the situation. If we wore mourning bands for 30-day intervals based on LEO deaths here in our state, we would probably never take them off.

    For info, the NLEOMF out of Washington D.C. provides a Mourning Band that has a 'thin blue line' down the middle of it. It is very sturdy and professional looking. Visit their website for details.

    Also, your Watch Commander or equivalent should have a supply of mourning bands on hand that can be immediately deployed if needed. Nothing like scrambling around looking for bands and not having them or having to order them overnight from some vender.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    SuperTrooper

    almost 7 years ago

    220 Comments

    here its 30 days.

  • Fleu_dis_lis_max50

    watercop9901

    almost 7 years ago

    126 Comments

    In my dept. (Sheriff's Office), we wear the band for 14 days from the day of the "officers end of watch". But the Sheriff or Chief can override the policy at anytime of course. We just had two officers killed within one week of each other and we chose to shorten the time that the band was wornto the date of the first death by request of one of the officers families.

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