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  • In custody death

    I'm trying to deal with n in custody death that occured to me less then 2 months ago.

    I was escorting this kid to court and enroute from the Youth holding facility. I stopped off for fuel and he escaped from the transport unit. I caught him and brought him into court. The kid was facing numerous charges including auto theft, sexual assualt and burglary.

    I was told he was on suicide watch, so I physically escorted him. After court (family in courtroom) he began to walk quickly out of the courtroom. I grabbed his arm and escorted him. When we got to the door of the court. He turned toward me looked at his family, spun away breaking my grip and ran for the 3rd floor railing. His mom got between me and him. I pushed her out of the way, which I don't remember and continued after him. The railing was only 6-8 feet from the courtroom.

    I caught his pantleg as he went over, but the cloth slipped through my hand. I watched him fall 75 feet to his death. I have always had nightmares about loosing my grip on someone in a falling situation
    and it came true.

    I was investigated by the States BI and cleared of any negligence, or wrongdoing, but I still have those feelings that there should have been something I could have done. The kid who was his buddy in the car theft and him made a suicide pact, which I did not know about. When I found out he was due in court. I asked my Undersheriff to keep me away from it. I didn't want anything to do with it. He agreed with me. I know they are still concerned about me and the effect this has had on me. I try to keep it out of my mind, but it creeps back when I least expect it.

    One of the guys i've worked with has asked how would you handle it if you shot someone. I told him that's different. In that case someone is trying to kill me and I wouldn't hesitate.

    I just feel alone in this. Like this hasn't happened to anyone else. It's a subject that I wish would just go away. I have had people tell me that they saw it and praised my "heroism" in trying to save him. I sure as hell don't feel like any hero. They estimated that I held him for about 2-3 seconds with my left arm (weak arm) before the fall. Where the hell was everyone else when I could have used their help. The only good thing is that I wasn't pulled over with him.

    My girlfriend and her kids, my family and my co-workers have helped me immensely through the past couple weeks. I just wish the nightmares would go away.

    Has anyone out there been through a situation like this. I could use the counsil of my law enforcement brothers and sisters on this one. I don't have any thoughts about suicide, or any of that crap and don't want to talk to a shrink, because they have no idea what we see out here.

  • #2
    Re: In custody death

    Originally posted by SD7

    I don't have any thoughts about suicide, or any of that crap and don't want to talk to a shrink, because they have no idea what we see out here.
    They don't need to know what we see out there to help us. They only need to know how to help you get through it. I suffered a bad case of PTSD from the military and police work. Some of it was from the dead babies that someone else killed. It took nearly 6 years of therapy from a good psychologist to work out all the kinks. And he never killed anyone in his life nor seen anyone after they were murdered.

    Find somebody who specializes in PTSD. This isn't a problem for self help, believe me. Good luck.
    "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

    Comment


    • #3
      I would definately say talk to a professional, or at least someone in your dept. Here we have officer peer counselors who we can go to, we also have the dept psychologist. both of those options are free and we don't have to go outside of the dept. Good luck in dealing with this. I hope your recovery is speedy.

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      • #4
        Tough break for you but if this kid was determined to do this to himself and family he added you to his list that he effected.

        If in looking back your agency knew this kid was a suicide risk would it not have been better to have two escorts with him rather then just one and have him restrained in such a manner that he could not break and run.

        Your agency put you in a bad situation that you now must work to put behind you knowing you did the best you could under some very serious conditions.

        I would be concerned if you did not feel bad for what happened even though the situation was out of your control and you did all you could do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ChesCopPodz
          Here we have officer peer counselors who we can go to, we also have the dept psychologist. both of those options are free and we don't have to go outside of the dept.
          I would STRONGLY discourage talking to any department shrink. Where I work, they are quacks and are required to tell the dept. what you are feeling, if THEY think you should be given a disability, etc. I've needed a shrink in the past, but I'd never talk to any department shrink. They aren't there to help you, they are there to help the department.

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          • #6
            I would suggest talking to a counselor of your choice that your health insurance will cover.
            Understand that it's not only department counselors who will talk with your agency but private ones wll also if there is a threat to your safety or the safety of others.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JB2245
              I would STRONGLY discourage talking to any department shrink. Where I work, they are quacks and are required to tell the dept. what you are feeling, if THEY think you should be given a disability, etc. I've needed a shrink in the past, but I'd never talk to any department shrink. They aren't there to help you, they are there to help the department.
              I don't doubt that some do that, but not all are that way. Mine isn't. The info is still priviliged whether the therapist is paid by the dept or not unless you sign a release. Ours do determine if you go back to work or not, but they tend to side with the cop, not the department. I've never heard a bad word about our shrinks at all. You might ask around about yours.
              "Life's tough, it's tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

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              • #8
                I'm not even sure that my insurance covers a psychologist. I will look into it though. Most of the time, when i'm busy, I don't think of it. It just pops into my head sometimes when i'm not expecting it.
                it.

                I think i'm really lucky that I have a girlfriend who is the daughter of a carear state trooper. So, she has a little bit of an idea of what i'm going through and she is very supportive.

                You know, I have seen combat in Iraq, Somalia and Bosnia. I have taken the lives of enemy soldiers and seen death as a police officer. I think the big difference in this is, as a soldier, you're trained to do what you have to do to stay alive and as a cop you expect to see death as part of the job.

                In my heart I know that I did everything I could to stop him. There are probably always going to be the What If's. At least for a while. In a way I'm ****ed at him for putting me into this. I'm ****ed at him for putting his family through this. In the 92 years that our courthouse has stood, no one has ever attempted suicide there. Because of this incident new security measures and procedures have been implemented.

                Some of the PD guys have told me that they wish they were escorting him, because if he had tried it with them, they would have helped him. They say that they regret that it was me, because I still have a big heart.

                I really appreciate you guys and the advice and support you've given me. Just getting my feelings out and talking to people who know what we do out here does help.

                Thanks Again

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's the truth. It will pop into your head from now until the day you give it up. Less frequently as time goes by. There should be however no pain or guilt associated with this kid's foolish stupid selfish action.
                  What could you have done ? NOTHING
                  What could you say to his family ? NOTHING
                  What could you change ? NOTHING
                  He left another victim behind YOU so don't let yourself be a victim.


                  I see things from years back. By see things I remember how they happened and often wonder why but I will accept no blame for the selfish actions of some fool determined to kill themselves
                  Last edited by Bodie; 08-10-2004, 04:20 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks Bodie,

                    I have gotten past the part of blaming myself and I know that he choose his own action. From the investigation, I was told that he had planned the jump 3 to 4 days before I even picked him up.

                    However the state run juvenile facility informed me that he was on suicide watch with low probability of action on his part. It wasn't until after the incident that CBI talked to the inmate's that his intentions became known.

                    Right after the fall, I was confronted by his mother's boyfriend. He immediately blamed me and tried to tell people that I "threw him over the rail" I tell ya I wanted to deck him. I have heard from the family, that they do not blame me, they blame him (the kid).I was even told by a friend of the family that they think maybe it was for the best. I agree. This kid has been in trouble with the law for sometime. His crimes became more and more serious. I truely believe that he would have ended up either dead, or in prison for the rest of his life.

                    I think that he would have eventually killed himself some way, or worse yet taken innocent people with him. Turns out he was friends with a kid who commited suicide 3 weeks before him. This kid jumped his truck off an 80 foot cliff at an estimated speed of 110 mph. The truck traveled 227 feet prior to impact. This kid killed himself over a break up with a girl.

                    I take comfort in the fact that he was unable to take anyone, including me with him. I thought about what would have occured if I was pulled over with him. It would have devestated my family, I never would have met and fallen (no pun intended)in love with my girlfriend. I think that because of this incident I have spent time thinking about things and reflecting on them.

                    I guess that in that time, I have come to appreciate the smaller things in life. Sunrises sunsets, the stars and the fact that life is short and unpredictable. As someone has said on this site life is a hell of a ride

                    Thanks again

                    SD-7

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      in custody death

                      SD-7,the fact that you wrote shows you care.You went the "extra mile", you did all you could.The sad fact is,that a person who really wants to commit suicide is going to do it.Period.Nothing you can do.You might postpone it,you won't prevent it. Your post shows that you care.I respect that. If you have a Pastor,or someone of that nature,they could possibly be of some help. Dept shrink? Don't know if I'd trust one. I don't want to paint with too broad a brush,I'm just a little skeptical on that one. Hope you can work through this.You're in my thoughts and prayers. Good Luck!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I thank everyone for their support. I deceided to talk to a friend of mine who is a state patrol chaplin and who spent 25 years as a trooper. The oppurtunity to express my feelings on this site has also helped immensely. I just needed a kick in the a@# to get the brain started.

                        I guess I had just lost hope for awhile. I guess in a way I was looking for forgiveness, for not being able to stop the unstoppable.I just need to remember that I did everything I could, when no one else did and that it wasn't my fault. I talked to a deputy from a nearby county who had the same thing happen to him, but he was able to swing the kid to the second floor landing before the fall. The kid ended up falling and breaking both his legs and an arm, but survived.

                        These type of things happen all over the world in police work. So, if I would have been able to save him, he probably would have found a some other way to kill himself. I realised that I can't save people from themselves. If they want to die, they will find a way.

                        Now, I have a woman in my life with three kids. I met her several weeks after the incident. There's a feeling in me that she "may be the one" Of course every one at work is saying that also.(i'm cursed) It is time for me to quit with the woe is me and to concentrate on loving and caring for her and her kids.

                        I take comfort in knowing that I am not alone and that I have other officers in this country who can give me that kick in the A-- when I need it

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And don't forget the mother who got in the way. If she hadn't done that perhaps those few extra seconds would have made a difference. Perhaps she is asking herself if it was partly her fault.

                          I can't possibly imagine how you must feel as I'm just a civilian and nothing like that has ever happened to anyone in my family, but you did all you could have done under the circumstances.
                          I love keeping secrets. It drives people crazy.

                          Comment

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