Sharing Sgt. Chapin's loss; the thin blue line, that binds
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Legally, professionally, jurisdictional boundaries matter a lot to law officers; who takes the lead, who makes the arrest.
But practically, and emotionally, they say, the death of Chattanooga Police Sgt. Tim Chapin, offers proof that all are Brothers In The Badge.
"The timing of getting over the funeral is important, no matter what," Red Bank Police Chief Tim Christol says. "A lot of times, until the officers actually experience this at a personal level; they don't really get the connection sometimes, of how dangerous this job really can be."
Chief Christol has seen at least five officers die in the line; in the four law enforcement agencies he's worked.
"We tend to put up walls to protect ourselves from the things we see every day," he says.
"There was a time when we would be involved in shootings, either of an officer or a suspect was down, and we'd be ordered to go back to work or back to the scene," says Chattanooga Police Sgt. Craig Joel. "Times have really changed. A lot."
Chattanooga, and Red Bank Police offer peer counseling after major incidents.
Chief Christol has lead a number of 'stress debriefings.'
"Any time you can get the officers to open up a little and talk about their feelings, it helps us deal with those feelings," Chief Christol says.
"No one can really discuss it with you unless they've walked a mile in those shoes," Sgt. Joel says.
In some cases, police work itself can be the most effective therapy.
Red Bank, and other police agencies helped keep the crime scene secure as Chattanooga and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation worked it for 31 straight hours.
Some officers will attend Sgt. Chapin's funeral. Others will cover Chattanooga's patrols so that Sgt. Chapin's fellow officers are able to attend.
But there comes a time, when some officers may find themselves alone in their thoughts. A few many question their choice of career.
"It brings to light a lot of scary things we don't like to face," Chief Christol says. "And we may not wish to be doing this."