Police cope while ambushed officer recovers

Police cope while ambushed officer recovers
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress
Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta Police Officer Randall Hancock is continuing to recover after he was shot in an ambush while responding to a 911 call last Friday.

On Wednesday, department officials said that they are helping his fellow co-workers cope with the incident.

The police department has six chaplains on staff to speak with officers at anytime.

Chaplains are also available to ride along with officers throughout the day.

A program called Critical Instant Stress Management also allows officers the opportunity to meet with counselors.

Officials said that it's crucial for officers to vent and talk about what happened.

"So there's a lot of opportunity for the officers to vent and talk to somebody. I think first and foremost is chaplains. They're here for them. That's what they're there for," said Police Chief Brian Childress.

Chief Childress said the chaplains have been in the department and with officers since Friday.

According to Childress, Officer Hancock is walking now.

He is still recovering at South Georgia Medical Center, but has been moved out of the ICU.

They hope to send Hancock home within the next few days.

"Sometimes bad things happen to good people, like in Randall's case, but the way this community has rallied around him, it's pretty emotional," said Chief Childress.

Thanks to the community and city leaders, who have helped provide funds to the department and family, Officer Hancock can take his time in recovery.

Chief Childress said that they believe Officer Hancock will be able to return to the force in the next month.

As for the shooting suspect, Stephen Beck, he is back in Valdosta at the same hospital as Officer Hancock.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office has armed guards posted outside his door 24 hours a day.

Beck has also been served arrest warrants and is facing three charges of aggravated assault on a police officer as well as possession of a firearm during a crime.

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