In 1996 Chris Cosgriff, then a James Madison University freshman, read a Washington Post article about the release of a murderer convicted of slaying two Prince George's County, Maryland police officers. Upon learning that this violent criminal had served only 16 years for his heinous act, Chris was compelled to find a way to honor these and other fallen officers. Thus, the Officer Down Memorial Page was created.
In the early stages of development, the ODMP honored only law enforcement officers who had been killed or wounded in 1996 but quickly expanded to include officers killed in the line of duty dating back to 1990. Then, with the help of the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund, Inc., the site gained access to information about thousands of heroes who had given their lives in the line of duty since the 1790s.
In 2000, Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc., was granted status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This status allowed the ODMP to greatly expand its role in honoring America's police officers killed in the line of duty.
In 2006, ODMP began hosting the annual National Police Week 5K in Washington D.C. during Police Week. Since then, the race has grown to include over 2500 runners and walkers each year, including a virtual team with participants from around the globe. A portion of the money raised at this event each year goes to Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), a non-profit organization that provides assistance to survivors who have lost a loved one to a line of duty death.
In 2010 the ODMP was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, to provide nationwide line of duty death notifications and resources on benefits available to survivors of fallen law enforcement officers.
In 2011, ODMP launched another annual fundraising event, the Officer Down Memorial Ride, a 60-mile motorcycle ride based in Haymarket, VA each spring. The ODMR had over 700 participants in 2018 and raised nearly $40,000 to support ODMP’s mission of honoring fallen law enforcement officers.
The Officer Down Memorial Page has further expanded to include ODMP K9, the Front Line Club, and the No Parole program. ODMP also released a mobile app that enables followers to receive immediate Line of Duty Death (LODD) notifications, see real-time statistics and trends, and search LODDs based on location.
ODMP partners with various law enforcement-related organizations to further its mission:
With St. Michael's Shield Project to get used, good-quality bulletproof vests to officers who are not issued this equipment by their agency.
With Below100 to promote and provide training to law enforcement aimed at decreasing preventable line of duty deaths.
With the Stanton Foundation to provide grants to replace fallen K9 officers and outfit them with bulletproof vests.
Today ODMP is the largest law enforcement memorial in the country, and our presence online enables supporters to learn about and honor fallen heroes regardless of their geographic location. We will continue to expand our offerings in constant service to our primary mission: honoring those officers who have died in the line of duty in the U.S.