ATF Association President's Message
This week, we celebrate and honor National Police Week at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C. and throughout many municipalities across our nation. Police Week began in 1962, when President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.
This past Thursday, ATF honored and remembered our fallen, from William Henderson Foote (IRS Deputy Collector – End of Watch 1883) through the 190 others since, during the 27th annual ATF Memorial Observance at Bureau headquarters. As we continue in the observance of Police Week, we should reflect upon and never forget those who came before us, those who serve beside us and especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
In keeping with the spirit of National Police Week, we at the ATF Association and Foundation continue to build upon the “support” and “remembrance” by announcing our partnership with ATF Headquarters Special Operations Division (SOD) to establish a Peer Support / Responder program for retired ATF personnel. Through Peer Support / Response, we continue to walk alongside our ATF family even after retirement by providing a means to seek and receive support when life’s challenges feel or become overwhelming.
We also remember our fallen heroes through the annual John Bost and LeBleu, McKeehan, Williams & Willis Memorial Scholarships, which have helped our ATF family with nearly $50,000 in scholarship funds since 2018.
As we go forward, let us all continue to embrace, each and every day, those who continue to serve and protect, and know that we at the ATF Association and Foundation will be there in support and remembrance.
Carlos Canino, ATFA President
Seeking All Former ATF Peer Support / Responders
Simply because we retire does not mean that the challenges of life no longer impact us or our abilities to effectively navigate difficult or critical incidents. And if we face those challenges, we should not be expected to handle those moments alone. Through a collaborative process with ATF HQ Special Operations Division, the ATF Association and Foundation hopes to establish in the very near future a means for retired ATF personnel to have access to Peer Support via a network of retired ATF Peer Responders who would be willing to continue to be there for those in need.
For active ATF personnel, the ATF Peer Responders and Chaplain program is currently available 24/7 to respond to critical incidents as well as offer support to those experiencing professional or personal crisis. This program has been utilized by the ATF family and sister federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and fire and emergency services departments nationwide since 1988. Peer Response Programs Branch (PRPB) is responsible for administering and operating the Peer Responder and Chaplain Program; and clinical oversight and training of responders is provided by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland.
The ATF Association and Foundation in partnership with ATF Special Operations Division / Peers Responder Program are seeking to identify any ATF retirees who were part of the ATF Peer Support / Responder Program or others who may have interest in becoming a Peer Responder / Supporter.
Although in the preliminary stages, this process/program would work toward establishing a core group of Peer Support / Responder volunteers who, with SOD support and training, would maintain a proficiency to be a Peer Supporter / Responder as well as establish a means where those seeking help may be able to reach out and receive the support needed.
If you are a former member of the ATF Peer Support / Responder program and would like to re-engage in the program or are interested in learning more about the program and becoming a Supporter / Responder, please send an e-mail to Laszlo Simonyi: Laszlo@atf-association.org
Please provide the following:
1. Name, address, e-mail, telephone number
2. The years you served with ATF and your last job title prior to retirement
3. If a former Peer Support / Responder – the years you were with the program
4. If not a former Support / Responder – please share your reason for wanting to join the program
Once we identify the core group of volunteers, we will seek assistance and input to help establish the program, protocols and procedures in conjunction with ATF/SOD. If you know any former members of the program, please share this announcement to help get the word out and bring together a robust team. Let's continue to be there for those in need!