As you know, on March 2, Ashland Police officer Malcus Williams passed away while on duty and responding to a call for service. Malcus is survived by his wife Ona, daughters Savannah, Georgia and Brooklyn, and his sisters Amy and Cindy. Malcus proudly served his community for more than 20 years, bringing compassion, professionalism and a gentle demeanor to all he touched while working as a police officer.
Malcus’ passing represents a profound loss for the entire community, the department and, most especially, for his family.
Through this loss, however, something truly remarkable emerged. While the Williams family and police family were clustered together, in support of each other, in the emergency room at the hospital, a simple phone call was made. To be honest, I still don’t know by whom. This phone call activated a team called the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation.
The OFBF is a team of dedicated men and women from around the state and beyond. It includes police officers, dispatchers, family members of other officers who died in the line of duty, emotional support professionals, members of the clergy and more. In all, approximately 30 team members responded to our call for help.
For the next two weeks, these men and women worked tirelessly, putting in more than 1,700 hours of work, in support of the Williams family, the Police Department and the funeral services. The OFBF handled everything, starting the morning of March 3, to take the burden off of the family and the Ashland Police Department.
They worked tirelessly so Malcus’ family did not have to worry about funeral arrangements, and where visiting family would stay. They worked tirelessly so Malcus’ partner officers could have room to grieve his loss while also continuing to serve the community. They worked tirelessly so the Ashland community could attend an appropriate memorial service to honor one so dearly loved.
The OFBF brought this support to the Williams family, the APD and the community free of charge, with no expectation that it be reimbursed.
We are the seventh community to benefit from the support brought by the OFBF. It had been my intention to follow the lead of the first six communities and make a donation to the OFBF from the police department’s budget to support the group’s efforts on their next deployment. Let’s be clear, though, any financial donation I would have asked for from the city’s funds would have paled in comparison to the work performed by the OFBF and the direct financial support they brought to the Williams family. If the staff of the APD had been tasked with doing what the OFBF did, the cost in staff time and direct payments for services would easily be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
However, I recognize that the city is facing some very significant financial hurdles in the coming months and years, and I recognize that the council has recently struggled through a very difficult process in identifying funding for four new police officers. With this in mind I have decided on a different approach to show our community’s appreciation for the help that the OFBF has brought to us, and sadly, to support the efforts that they will inevitably bring to the next community that suffers such a loss.
For this reason, I am appealing to the members of the community to join me in donating to the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization. Just as they were there to support our police department and our team member’s family, they will be there for the next department and family. The OFBF will bring its team members in when a family, department and community are at their lowest, and they will hold them up, just as they did in the days after March 2.
Thanks for your consideration, and thank you for all of the support you have shown to the department and Williams family over the past several weeks.
Donations can be made through the Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation’s website at oregonfallenbadge.com or at any US Bank branch.
Tighe O’Meara is Ashland’s chief of police. He wrote this with the support of the Williams family.