(WASHINGTON, D.C.) The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is mounting a vigorous campaign to discourage parents and caregivers from purchasing or allowing children access to the 25-to-Life video game. The NLEOMF is a nonprofit organization representing the nation’s 15 largest law enforcement organizations. It was established in 1984 to generate increased public support for the law enforcement profession and to provide information that will help promote law enforcement safety.

In response to a notice from game manufacturer Eidos that the game was shipped to U.S. markets beginning January 17, the NLEOMF is protesting the violent nature of the game, in which participants role-play shooting fellow gang members and police officers and using civilians as human shields. The NLEOMF is calling for all retail outlets to act responsibly and not stock this item.

“It is absolutely unconscionable that game makers are enabling young people – or anyone – to dramatize shooting and killing as a form of entertainment while officers and innocent people are dying in real-life on our streets every day,” said NLEOMF Chairman Craig W. Floyd. “We’re encouraging parents, caregivers and everyone who is concerned about both law enforcement officers and children to ensure this game never makes it into the homes or hands of impressionable young people.”

Players of 25-to-Life are presented with a scenario that enables them to choose between playing as a law enforcement officer, or a drug dealer who role-plays shooting fellow gang members and law enforcement officers. The Web site advertising the game boasts that players have “more than 40 weapons to choose from, including shotguns, machine guns, stun guns and tear gas.” In the meantime, players can “bust out of prison or infiltrate the inner sanctum of the drug lord’s mansion.”

Noting that in the past 10 years, 54 officers have been killed by people under the age of 18, Mr. Floyd said, “While it’s true that players are given a choice between wearing a badge or the colors of a gang, the ultimate message carried by the game is that some players are justified in endangering the lives of police officers. That’s a terrible message for anyone, but particularly so for young people who are already confronted with numerous choices that can lead to dangerous consequences. Regardless of your views on free speech or marketplace dynamics, there is really nothing good that can be said about this game. The images are wrong. The messages are wrong. And the determination to stock it in stores throughout the U.S is wrong.”

Mr. Floyd noted that the NLEOMF’s recently released report on law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty during 2005 included more than 50 officers killed by gunfire, which he says “represents only a fraction of the number of officers who have been shot at and wounded.” A total of 153 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during 2005, according to preliminary figures released by the NLEOMF and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).

“We’re focused on this game right now because children and communities are facing the greatest threat from it right now, but our broader goal is to encourage all parents and caregivers to be more aware of what their children are exposed to or encouraged to emulate,” added Mr. Floyd. “Any type of media that glorifies violence against law enforcement or civilians should be scrutinized very carefully.”

The NLEOMF is encouraging anyone who supports the boycott of 25-to-Life to sign a petition at its Web site at www.nleomf.com. The NLEOMF expects to receive at least 17,500 signatures, a number that corresponds with the estimated number of officers whose names will be engraved on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial at the close of 2006.

Managed by the NLEOMF and located at Judiciary Square in Washington, D.C., the Memorial lists the names of all law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since the first recorded line-of-duty death in 1792. The NLEOMF runs the national Officer of the Month program, is an organizer of the National Police Week tribute each May, and serves as a clearinghouse of information about law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. For more information, visit www.nleomf.com.

Article written by/or information provided by tcamos

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