(Posted Sept. 23, 2016)
By Lori Smith, Staff Writer
A London native has created an organization to provide emotional and financial support to law enforcement and their families throughout the state of Ohio.
“I started it in 2012, after a scary event happened with my husband at work,” said Anna Short, referring to an incident involving her husband, Officer Jacob Short with Madison Township in southeast Columbus. “I just decided, ‘I cannot do this alone.’ ”
Since then, Police Wives of Ohio has grown to include more than 6,000 members, including 30 board members representing various charters in the Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Marion and Mansfield areas.
“These women are really an awesome support system that has your back no matter what,” Short said. “It really is family and it’s pretty amazing.”
In addition to providing emotional support to families through Facebook pages and email, the organization has raised more than $6,000 for the families of injured or fallen officers.
In the instance of a line of duty injury or death, Police Wives of Ohio sends a care package including a stuffed bear for the children or a blanket for the adults.
“We just want them to have something they can hold that will comfort them,” Short said, noting that members of their care team deliver all packages personally.
In addition, Police Wives of Ohio has been providing rapid response kits to departments around the state.
“Eighty percent of our cruisers don’t have any type of first aid kit, which is scary considering everything that is going on,” Short said. “You can bleed out in as little as 20 seconds if a major artery is damaged.”
The rapid response kits include a quick clot kit and tourniquets, Short said, “So if they need to be on their own for a while, they can take care of themselves until medics arrive.”
So far, Police Wives of Ohio has donated 250 rapid response kits and is getting ready to order another 150. They are distributed on a first-come basis and cost the organization $50 each.
“We have 300 departments on a waiting list,” Short said.
Police Wives of Ohio also offers more localized recognition for police departments, including National Police Week in May and Thank a Police Officer Day on Sept. 17.
“Last year, we covered 5,000 officers with meals, gifts, goody bags, thank you cards, all kinds of things,” she said. “We want them to know we realize this is a thankless job and they aren’t doing it for nothing.”
Police Wives of Ohio also tries to send representatives to events such as Cops and Kids Day in the various communities.
“We’re trying to teach the children that law enforcement is good and you can trust the police,” she said. “We want to show them that the officer is a real person, not just a uniform and a badge. It’s a dad, husband, brother, mom, wife or sister.”
Next on the agenda is a police ball, which will be held in Hilliard in November.
“This is the first one in central Ohio and we are really excited about it,” Short said.
Police Wives of Ohio also recently held a golf outing, a blue family festival, and has a first responder and family workshop scheduled for December.
Police Wives of Ohio is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, and Short estimates she spends 40 hours a week on the effort, and laughed, “Sometimes more.”
“We have an incredible amount of amazing women who know how to get things done,” she said. “Everyone believes in helping other law enforcement families at their worst times.”
Short, 26, grew up in London as the daughter of Leonard and Barbara Hiser, and just recently moved back to the area after living in Reynoldsburg for several years. They have three children ages 11, 5 and 3 and she also runs a photography business.
Starting a non-profit organization was not intimidating to her, she said, because she watched her father start different businesses when she was growing up.
“It was a needed thing that grew very fast,” Short explained. “I would like to see more charters throughout Ohio, and I would love to see it nationwide eventually. It is something that is needed anywhere.”
Donations to Police Wives of Ohio can be sent to P.O. Box 54, London, OH 43140. Visit policewivesofohio.org for details.