Law enforcement is one big blue family. When any officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty it causes a shockwave across the law enforcement community. Knowing that a fellow officer has paid the ultimate sacrifice for protecting community has an emotional impact on the entire law enforcement family.
When that officer is one of your brothers or sisters on your department the emotions and feelings of loss can cut even deeper. It can be one of the hardest events to cope with emotionally.
Every officer who has taken the oath knows that this is a possibility and reality of protecting and serving; however, it does not lessen the pain when an officer falls in the line of duty.
The grieving process is different for each officer. Even with the shock and pain of the immediate loss, officers will pin on the badge and strap on their duty weapons to once again face danger and protect the weak and innocence during their personal struggle to cope with their personally loss.
Talking with Your Immediate Family
Law enforcement families are special. They have the pride that their LEO is a guardian of the community and also fear for their officer’s safety. The LEO family lives with the reality that their officers face real danger and violence can occur without warning or provocation. A police officer spouse/partner has their cell phone nearby when their LEO is on duty. A knock at the front door or ring of the doorbell can be unnerving and bring a rush of emotions from the fear of the worst.
When a line of duty death occurs, an officer needs to communicate with their spouse/partner openly and listen to their concerns and fears, because these feelings are real. Learning to communicate openly is healthy and the strongest support an officer will ever have comes from their partner in life.
The officer also needs to have the age appropriate talk with the law enforcement child. Children need reassurance and to see and hear their parent when they are feeling stressed. Children can sense when things in the home are not normal. Take the time to check in with your child and listen to their concerns.
Don’t Go It Alone
Survivor’s guilt can lead to depression if not addressed. If you or a fellow officer are experiencing problems coping with the recent line of duty death make sure to seek assistance from mental health care providers. Accepting professional mental health care assistance can help with the grieving process.
Policing is a dangerous profession. The dangers of the job bonds the officers and law enforcement families together. Make sure that you honor the fallen by supporting each other during this emotional and sad time.
The memory of our fallen officers will never be forgotten. We will learn to live with the pain and loneliness caused by the loss of a true hero who gave everything so others could stay safe.
God Bless our law enforcement officers and their families.
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