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Every citizen of Memphis, Tennessee was saddened and shocked to hear of the death of Memphis police officer Timothy Warren, brutally killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic dispute at a local hotel.

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t appreciate all the sacrifices that local police officers make every day to keep our city safe and secure. I can’t imagine the family stress that hangs every day where loved ones never know whether an officer will make it safely home to his/her family. It’s a job that is essential, and I thank each and every officer for their professionalism and dedication to the safety of our citizens.

As we all know, this tragic death has been front-page news for days, and our community is grieving along with Officer Warren’s fellow officers and his family. The loss is unimaginable, and very tragic. 

Recently, our local NBC affiliate, held a daylong “fallen officer’s drive” to help the officer’s family in their time of grief. Many of Memphis’ corporate and individual leaders participated. One of the TV anchors was encouraging every citizen to stop by and drop off a donation, “even if it’s just the change in your car’s ashtray.”

I applaud WMC-TV for taking the lead and organizing such an effort. It’s no doubt, an important gesture to Officer Warren’s family, and it’s a very effective way for our entire community to emotionally cope with such a tragic loss—as every citizen gets the chance to participate in a personal way that will be big and impactful. It also allows the community to show support to our entire police force.

Now don’t get me wrong here: but my mind immediately races to this question: Did the officer have enough life insurance so that his family is financially secure? Even if he did have coverage, the fund drive is still a great idea because of the community effect and need to show support. Hopefully, the proceeds of the fund drive will be more emotional than financial support to the family. In addition, the city provides a nice benefit package to all employees, so I have to assume some coverage exists via the employee benefit plan.

While not everyone is a police officer or fireman, the chance of a sudden, even tragic death is just as real for any of our clients. The shock and results to any family would be exactly as real as what the Warren family is coping with.

As advisors, it’s important that we stay in touch with our clients to remind them there is an easy way to plan ahead and not have to count on the charity and generosity of others. Planning today avoids financial loss when or if tragedy strikes.

Rest in Peace, Officer Timothy Warren. Our city mourns your loss and prays for your family’s strength and stamina in the days ahead.

And, oh yeah, to anyone reading this: thank an officer TODAY for all they do to protect us!