Kids of fallen cops share solace at summer camp

(CBS News) EAST TROY, Wis. -- This year, 62 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty -- more than 19,000 in all of U.S. history.

Memories of them endure in the marbled walls of Washington and in the hearts of children they leave behind. There is a place that helps heal those hearts; many of the children of fallen officers go to a place called C.O.P.S. Camp (Concerns of Police Survivors), where others share their pain.

Officer Michael Crain
Officer Michael Crain
CBS News

Thirty-four-year-old Michael Crain, a veteran riverside California police officer, was gunned down in February by ex-Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, a man with a vendetta against the LAPD.

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"I just hope it doesn't happen to anyone else," said Ian Crain, Michael's son.

Crain has come to C.O.P.S. Camp, where the mission is to give the children of fallen officers the help they need to rebuild their lives.

Ian Crain
Ian Crain
CBS News

This 10-year-old's wounds are still fresh. Crain said when it comes to his dad and dealing with his loss, he is looking for happiness.

"I'm never happy anymore," said Crain.

There are 137 other children at the camp in various stages of living with their grief.

"There were five bad guys behind my dad and in back of him and front of him, and then they shot him nine times," said a boy named Matthew.

The children are ages 6 to 14. They make memory boxes as a way of coping.

There are daily counseling sessions encouraging the children to talk about their loss and then, in the afternoons, the high ropes course and other activities are designed to instill courage and confidence.

"I wanted him to feel that he wasn't alone. That there was this community that would be here to support him, that gets it. I hope he feels, at some point, that everyone just gets it and it's a place you can be where the healing can begin," said Jennifer Crain, Ian's mother.

Children participate in activities at COPS Camp.
Children participate in activities at COPS Camp.
CBS News

There's a saying at this camp: the people who come here are part of a group "no one wants to belong to."

They call themselves survivors. The sons and daughters of fallen cops, inspiring each other to overcome and keep going.

  • Jeff Pegues

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