AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - This week, one South Georgia police department has worked to support numerous law enforcement agencies across the country.
Georgia Southwestern State University's Campus Safety Office sends a letter to each agency that loses a member in the line of duty.
"It lets you know in something of that magnitude, that you're not by yourself," said GSW Campus Safety Chief Mike Tracy.
Campus Safety Officer Donna Tissue has written 17 letters so far this year, including one to a police department right here in Georgia.
Chief Tracy said they started doing this after GSW Campus Safety Officer Jody Smith and Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr were shot and killed in the line of duty in December of 2016.
"It just seems like every department that's lost somebody understands what it's like, understands what it's like to lose one of your own," Tracy explained.
In the wake of those officers' deaths, GSW Campus Safety received at least 270 letters from police departments, sheriff's offices, other agencies and even individuals across the country. They got at least one letter from every state in the US.
"They just kept coming, the letters, the flowers, the food," said Tracy.
"On the most difficult day this department's ever seen, we had the entire United States thinking about us at that moment," Tissue said.
So now, Chief Tracy makes sure his department does the same. They take this simple step to demonstrate their brotherhood.
"We know from an emotional standpoint exactly how that felt," said Tracy.
"We just want to show our appreciation, for what they've done for us," said GSW Campus Safety Sgt. Nate Milledge. "So, it's something we do."
After responding to each letter, Tracy gave them all to the mothers of Officer Smith and Officer Smarr to keep.