CANTON, Mo. | Health precautions in response to COVID-19 changed classes to an online format at Culver-Stockton College and postponed the final milestone planned in Seth McBride's Fallen Officer project, but the criminal justice professor came up with a way for his students and people around the world to show their gratitude for first responders, nurses and doctors Saturday, April 4.
The Fallen Officer Project in McBride's “In the Line of Duty” class began with each student selecting an officer who died in the line of duty — they could be from Missouri, other communities in the U.S. or from across the world. Before the students researched an officer's life and service, they made sure to get approval from family members and from the department. Each student wrote a paper and conducted a presentation based on their findings.
As the COVID-19 pandemic recently led to the change in class structure, closure of campus facilities and postponement of the planned Badge of Honor Benefit Run in Poplar Bluff, McBride decided to start the Fallen Officer Thank You Campaign for students and anyone else to be able to show their gratitude to emergency responders, nurses and doctors.
McBride is a former Hannibal police officer and commissioned sheriff's deputy in Lewis County, and he wanted to make sure all the students who worked hard to honor the legacy of each officer they selected got the opportunity to show their gratitude.
“The students who are in the project will still recognize the officers, but I have opened it up to anyone and everyone who wants to participate out in the community, or the country or the world — thanking a first responder,” McBride said. “And I also included nurses and doctors, because they're at the forefront of what we're dealing with right now.”
Everyone is invited to join the students, taking a picture while holding up a sign showing their gratitude to the person they're honoring. Participants can post the picture to their favorite social media outlet, using the hashtag #fallenofficerproject2020 on Saturday April 4, the day the Badge of Honor Benefit Run was originally scheduled. McBride said the campaign allows people to stay in safe places like their home or yard while they join together in the effort.
Word of the new campaign reached an online law enforcement news story, and McBride has heard from people in California and Massachusetts who are going to participate.
“It's not something that has to be (limited) to the Midwest — which would have been great as well — but this is something that hopefully the whole country, if they hear about it, can get involved in it,” McBride said. “And potentially, if it can get around to people around the world, it's a great thing. Everyone can get involved.”
More information is available by visiting the Culver-Stockton College Criminal Justice Program Facebook page or https://bit.ly/3bHUcoc.