Fallen Hero Program Policy

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1—Effective Dates: This policy shall become effective on the date of enactment and remain in force until it is rescinded. It shall be reviewed at any time that some section appears inappropriate or out of date, but in any case, no later than the end of each odd numbered calendar year hereafter to ensure it remains current and supportive of the purposes and intents which make it necessary.

2—Purpose: Recognizing the tragic circumstances associated with police officers killed in the line of duty, it is the wish of the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) to recognize the contributions and memorialize the fallen, while assisting the families during their bereavement. To these ends, this policy shall prescribe the conditions and procedures for extending benevolence to eligible friends, relatives and colleagues and recognition to the fallen.

  • 2.1 The title of CATO’s bereavement or benevolent fund shall be referred to as the Fallen Hero Fund (FHF).
  • 2.2 The FHF shall be directly controlled by the CATO Executive Board and the appointed chairperson, hereinafter referred to as the Trustees of the FHF. The number of trustees can be determined by the CATO Executive Board to ensure the proficiency of the FHF program.
  • 2.4 The funds shall be held in trust within CATO’s fiduciary institution.

3—Scope: Recognizing the fundamental purpose of the CATO organization, this policy shall be limited to those California police officers who are killed in the line of duty or members of CATO regardless of their location or assignment:

  • 3.1. while currently assigned to a tactical team meeting the definition as established by the State of California pursuant to California Penal Code §13514.1 AND
    • 3.1.1. were killed in the line of duty while participating in an actual tactical operation OR
    • 3.1.2. were killed in the line of duty while participating in training or rehearsal for actual operations.
    • 3.1.3. Membership in CATO is not required for California law enforcement officers.
  • 3.2. Ex post facto—California officers meeting the requirements outlined in this section shall be eligible for recognition back to August 31st of 1966. This date is generally considered the initiating event (Texas Tower Sniper Incident) for the advent of the modern SWAT concept.
    • 3.2.1. No retroactive monetary awards are authorized.


  • 4.1. Tactical Team—For purposes of this policy, a tactical team is defined as any designated group of law enforcement officers who are selected, trained, and equipped to work as a coordinated team to resolve critical incidents that are so hazardous, complex, or unusual that they may exceed the capabilities of first responders or investigative units.
  • 4.2. Tactical Operation—Any activity in which four or more members of a tactical team engage in deliberate efforts to resolve a conflict or potential conflict.

5—Policy: It shall be the policy that:

  • 5.1. Eligible officers as defined by Section 3 of this policy shall be commemorated:
    • 5.1.1. In a suitable manner on the CATO website. The format, style, and content shall be uniform for all honorees and be shall be maintained in perpetuity.
    • 5.1.2. At the annual CATO conference by ceremony and/or acknowledgement.
  • 5.2. Survivor Benefits—While recognizing that a monetary award to a grieving relative or colleague can be seen as impersonal, or even disrespectful, especially considering the substantial funds awarded by law, it is believed that a prompt award can provide needed funding to offset incidental expenses. Accordingly, monetary awards shall be allotted to the next of kin, a designated family member or colleague subject to the following:
    • 5.2.1. Families of current CATO members meeting the requirements as outlined in Section 3 of this policy in the amount of $3,000
    • 5.2.2. Families of non-CATO members meeting the requirements as outlined in Section 3 of this policy in the amount of $2,000
    •  5.2.3. Alternatively, a person designated to receive a monetary award may choose to have the funds awarded to a charity, religious institution, or other suitable organization. Such awards shall require the approval of the CATO Board.
    •  5.2.4. Subject to the approval of the CATO Board, if no next of kin or family member is available or willing to accept a monetary award, the award may be made to the agency of the fallen officer or to a charity in memory of the fallen officer.
    • 5.2.5  When special needs are present, the Board of Directors may, on a majority vote, award benefits to the family of fallen officers who would not otherwise be eligible.  This exception shall be awarded solely on demonstrable need and decided on a case by case basis.

6—Procedures: Whenever it has been reported that a California police officer has been killed who may fall under this policy, the following procedures shall be observed:

  • 6.1. The FHF Chairperson is responsible to determine the eligibility of the fallen officer and in his or her absence, a member of the CATO Board shall be immediately designated to make a determination on the eligibility of the fallen officer in meeting the criteria as outlined by this policy
    • 6.1.1. The board member may be designated by the President or Vice-President of the Board or in either of their absences, by any two-members of the Board.
    • 6.1.2. The FHF Chairperson or designated Board member shall make every effort to determine eligibility within 48 hours of the death and report back to the Board with a recommendation. The report shall include the name of the person(s) designated to receive any monetary award.
  • 6.2. Upon a finding that the fallen officer meets the eligibility requirements, the FHF Chairperson shall notify the Executive Board and subsequently document these findings, associated notifications and disbursement in writing as indicated in section 6.2.1.
    • 6.2.1. The Treasurer shall enable funds according to the requirements as set forth in Section 4 of this policy to be promptly available for delivery to the designated recipient at the earliest opportunity.  The FHF Chairperson is ultimately responsible for the timely delivery of said funds.
    • 6.2.2. The Secretary shall ensure a timely and appropriate recognition be placed on the CATO website (and/or Facebook) as well as the printed journal (CATO News) at the Hello All.

Current as of:  November 22, 2018

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