When a law enforcement officer dies, so does a little piece of every man and woman in uniform.
"We're a brotherhood," said Officer Arthur O'Brien of the Cary Police Department."Even though we're off duty, we still have to look out for one another and we have to look out for each other's families."
Officer O'Brien left the New York Police Department a month before Sept. 11, 2001 to work in Wake County. In the face of the 9/11 tragedy, he wanted to help families when an officer dies.
O'Brien started making shirts and bumper stickers to raise money for their families. The shirts are sold through liaisons in the different departments. They are also sold at Lawman's in southeast Raleigh.
The shirts are each a little bit different and have special things commemorating specific officers.
O'Brien's latest shirt is for Wake County Deputy Mark Tucker, who was shot and killed in February. O'Brien and Tucker worked together in the Fraternal Order of Police.
"There was something about him. When he talked to you, it really did, it made you feel like you were important. It felt good when he talked to you," O'Brien said.
"It shows me how much people care and it shows how many hearts my dad touched," Tucker's son, Matthew, said.
Matthew Tucker is proud so many people want to honor his father by wearing the shirts.
"To hear how many people have bought the shirts. The first shipment was gone in less than a month. He had to go re-order more and he's still ordering more. It's just incredible," he said.
O'Brien has raised about $10,000 for the four families he has helped. All of the profits go the survivors.
The officer says he is committed to doing this anytime a Wake County officer dies in the line of duty.
Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.