Cleveland police chief provides officer support after 15-month-old's death
The Cleveland, Tennessee police chief is taking steps to provide emotional support for his officers, who responded to a call that ended in the death of a 15-month old boy.
It happened on July 11th just before noon at a home on Highland Drive Southwest.
Chief Mark Gibson says when his team got the call they thought they were responding to a vehicle accident involving a pedestrian.
But when they arrived, they found a toddler with severe head trauma. Chief Gibson says one of his sergeants was the first to arrive at the scene.
“He was by himself and there is a lot of people in the parking lot. There's a lot of chaos. He doesn't know what's going on. All he knows is that he has a child that has very critical serious injuries,” Gibson explained.
Chief Gibson says the child was in the driveway when the father ran over him. He says the child was unresponsive so the sergeant started performing CPR until EMS crews arrived four minutes later.
“I wish I could have taken them out of that situation,” Gibson said.
The 15-month-old was transported to the hospital where he passed away.
Now, days later, Chief Gibson says the tragic loss may be taking a toll on his team. For that reason, he held a mandatory critical stress debriefing with the Tennessee Public Safety Network. Though no officers have come to him for help, Chief Gibson hopes this proactive step to help his officers cope.
“All of them are different. All of them have different background and different families so it's going to affect each one f them in different ways,” he said. “It could impact their mental health. It could impact their home life. IT could impact the possibility of substance abuse, longevity in the job.”
During a time of grievance and heartbreak, Chief Gibson says his officers received a gift from the family to say thank you.
“They [officers] feel like could I have done more or was there something else I could have been doing to help and this gives them closure that family understands that they did all they could do and that it's appreciated.”
Chief Gibson tells Channel 3, the family held a funeral for the 15-month old Tuesday. They plan to bury the child in Honduras, where they are from.