Police officers receive counseling - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Police officers receive counseling

September 23, 2004

Albany -- Counselors say they're concerned about mental stress on Albany Police officers because of Tuesday's murder-suicide by a co-worker and the dismissal of their chief.

Chaplains, ministers, and psychologists met with Albany Police officers extensively in the last two days, following Tuesday's shooting by Corporal Andrew Hayslip.

Albany Police Sergeants Edward Heath and Patrick Williams are part of the department's Chaplain program, that has been working with all three shifts of officers since Tuesday's shooting. Sgt. Williams said "You have some who are asking the question, why, some who are crying that don't understand."

Tuesday's shooting by long-time officer Andrew Hayslip, killing his son and himself, has further stressed police officers who have seen their department challenged by a number of arrests, suspensions, and the chief's forced retirement. Sgt. Heath said "To let them know somebody cares, to support them through this situation. This is a very difficult time for the Albany Police Department."

Sgt. Williams said "He and I are just there for support. The ministry of presence is more important than a whole lot of talking, so we are just there for them."

The first officers on the scene of the shooting received special counseling and had chaplains ride with them when they returned to work Wednesday.

These chaplains say that counseling will continue as long as needed. The chaplains say they have also counseled Chief Bobby Johnson in the last weeks.

posted at 4:41 PM by jimw@walb.com