ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — Some police officers in Tye say it’s not just the dangers of the job that make it difficult to do.
Some officers experienced their first fatality response last week after a Trent ISD student was killed in a crash on Interstate 20.
“This little thing here is very light, at the most it probably weighs 0.7 ounces at the most, depending on who makes it, but there’s days you put pick it up and have the weight of a whole community on your back,” said Jay Strong, Tye Police Chief.
Policing a close-knit community can be hard, especially when there is a fatal crash involving someone you know.
“Sometimes you don’t even realize it ’til it’s over with, what you’ve just been through or what you’ve done, and then it sinks in,” said Strong.
Even if they don’t know the people involved, Strong says responding to such a tragic accident carries a lot of weight.
“Everyone can’t do this, and some people it can take a heavy toll,” said Strong.
It’s a weight officer Brooklyn Kanady is experiencing after responding to her first fatal crash.
“People always perceive us as, ‘Oh, it’s your job, you should be able to just get over it and move on,’ but it doesn’t work like that,” Kanady says.
Strong says while they are trained to act in tough situations, the hardest part will always be what happens after they have responded.
“How am I going to explain this, how am I going to tell this person, and are they going to look at me and say, ‘Well, you didn’t do enough,’ and that’s a hard thing to have to walk away with when you know you did, you did everything you could possibly do,” said Strong.
“I have a heavy heart because she was a young child,” says Kanady. “I hate to see anyone lose a loved one, it makes me think about my family.”
What gets them through is each other.
“If you don’t have a support system and you don’t have a peer to peer, it’s going to weigh on you in a negative light,” said Strong.