November 1st, 2005

Damn Yankees

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

Whenever I need a dose of ‘well it could be worse’ I pop over the Officer Down Memorial Page (link below). It’s an American website which lists all the law enforcement officers killed on duty. We have something similar, it’s called the Police Roll of Honour Trust

Currently the Officer Down pages show that there have been 126 line-of-duty deaths in 2005 and 17,762 in total. We’ve had fifteen so far out of a total of about 4,000.

For all the things we Brits like to have a pop at the Yanks for, this is one that they outshine us. Not police deaths but the way they memorialise them. The site really is a great tribute to fallen officers. The design is crisp and all the facts are within easy reach of the main page. Each year shows a list of all the officers who died with a brief summary and a picture of their department patch. Clicking on a name takes you to the officer’s page where you can find out all the details of how they died, see their photo if available and read what people had to say about that officer.

It’s the ‘Reflections’ page which always gets me. I defy anyone not to be moved reading some of the thoughts people have left, especially thoughts written by officers’ children or partners & colleagues.

With the best will in the world the British version is so much less. The design is a little, how can I put this? amateurish, and hasn’t changed in years. The layout is much more clunky and there is no facility for anyone to write comments about the officers who died. Well, that’s not strictly true, you can use their guestbook which is a long list of comments on the site interspersed with the odd personal tribute but you have to scroll through the whole damned thing to see if there’s any mention of a specific officer. The guestbook is provided by a third-party website company who has their logo at the top and doesn’t actually feel part of the site.

Perhaps the difference between the two sites says something about the difference between the two cultures, or perhaps it doesn’t. I don’t know. But I do know the Officer Down Memorial Page will get more visits from me than the Police Roll of Honour Trust and I think that’s a shame.

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