OREGON CITY, Ore -- The shooting death of an Oregon City police officer has put a spotlight on what happens to the families left behind when an officer dies in the line of duty. Now police in the Salem area are starting a charity aimed at offering help.
A memorial wall in Salem has the names of more than 170 Oregon law enforcement officers who’ve died in the line of duty.
Officer Matt Hagan wants the newly created Oregon Fallen Officer Memorial Fund to help families that lose a loved one to police service.
"You look at it as a family and it's kind of an extended family member that you've lost," Hagan said. "I thought it was important to be able to step up and help out because if it happens to me, God forbid, I'd want my wife and child to be covered."
While Oregon City reserve officer Robert Libke, who died from a gunshot wound on Nov. 4, has a fund set up in his name, Hagan's group wants to help the families of fallen offices all around the state.
Ashleigh Armenakis is the wife of a reserve officer and volunteer with the project.
"I know the financial impact on me would be devastating if my husband were to lose his life in the line of duty," Armenakis said.
Through a Facebook page, fundraisers aim to offer immediate financial help.
"The fund can make a difference in a huge way," Armenakis said. "The goal is to be able to take care of that family in the interim of checks coming in from life insurance."
The fund has already received a few thousand dollars in donations and the board is planning a winter fundraiser. They want to be prepared to help the families of fallen officers but hope the money will never have to be spent.