Bearing Bad News Tough on Cops, Too

Among occupational hazards, informing family of death is worst
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2009 5:50 PM CST
Bearing Bad News Tough on Cops, Too
Police officers say they're well aware that loved ones may never forget how they hear news of a death.   (AP Photo)

News of a death can be tough on police officers charged with delivering it, too. While agencies don’t generally have formal protocols (unlike the US Army), most prefer to inform families in person, with a chaplain. “You ask yourself: How would you want to deliver this message,” a retired officer tells CNN, “because people are going to remember this for the rest of their life.”

Managing a wide range of reactions, from screaming to fainting, and situations can prove stressful and complicated. One police chaplain has experienced the “knock-on-the-door” 300-400 times. “Almost everybody knows why you’re there,” he said. “They immediately see you and they know there is a problem.” Another officer said he often cries with the family: “If you’re a human being, it’s going to affect you.” (More police stories.)

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