Support group for officer families opens

February 18, 2009 9:07:13 PM PST
They have been anxious months for the families of policemen and women. Some of those family members are finding support from a new organization. Very few people have heard about this group, because it only recently got off the ground. It was founded by the wife of an officer who was looking for support after the death of Sgt. Patrick McDonald.

Christi Repici is the wife of a 3rd District Philadelphia police officer. Like so many other family members of officers, she was looking for a sympathetic ear to air her concerns.

"A family member of a police officer that knows the fears that we have, knows how worried we are about them and I looked around and found there wasn't a group in Philadelphia," Repici said.

At a time, when so many Philadelphia officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, Repici was astonished. So through the Fraternal of Police, she decided to put such a group together; they held their first meeting last month.

"We ended up meeting for hours, the time just flew by cause we were just talking and realized how much we had in common," Repici said.

They addressed issues that concern them all such as how to talk to their children who fear their dad or mom may not be coming home that night. They also learned about each other.

"Most of our husbands, sons, daughters, they're very passionate about what they do, and they love what they do, so they go out there and they're really trying to do a good job, they want to help people and they want to take the bad guys off the streets," Repici said.

Gretchen LeClaire, whose husband, Warrant Officer Joseph LeClair was killed 5 years ago this March, thinks the police support group is long overdue and plans to attend the next meeting, hoping to help others.

"And every time you hear an officer being killed, it opens up all the wounds all over again," LeClaire said.

The group will meet this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at the FOP Lodge in Spring Garden. A doctor from the counseling network for loss and transition will be on hand to lead a discussion. It's open to all family members of officers.

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