I Was Not Able to Protect My Daughter

by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance

Author’s Note: Several years ago, a detective from a metropolitan police department sent me an email concerning the death of his 17-year-old daughter. She had been brutally murdered by her boyfriend and the anniversary of her death was fast approaching. Vince was struggling with several grief issues, one of which was his perception that as a police officer he was unable to protect her and save her life.

With his permission, I am sharing my response to his email in the hopes that it will help other bereaved dads, especially those of you in law enforcement and emergency response who may be coping with some of the same issues. Continue reading “I Was Not Able to Protect My Daughter”

Line of Duty Death

by Peggy Sweeney
The Sweeney Alliance

SafariLogo 400X400Local newspaper headlines report the sad news of another fallen hero. The tragic death of a brave firefighter or police officer who has died in the line of duty. A dedicated professional who sacrificed his or her life that others may live or that homes and property would be saved from the ravages of fire. Most people halfheartedly acknowledge the event while searching for more significant information relating to their personal lives; a baseball score, stock market figures, want ads, or horoscopes. This newsworthy article is often overlooked by the casual reader. Civilians cannot relate to this type of tragedy nor can they comprehend the depth of grief and pain that every member in the fire service feels. Their lives will not be changed by this tragedy. Unfortunately, this is not true for the family and co-workers of this fallen hero. Life as they knew it will never be the same again. Emotions run rampant and their seemingly normal lives spiral into a frightening and dark abyss where pain, loneliness, and grief are constant companions. Surviving this personal tragedy is, at times, almost unbearable. How does one survive? What lessons can be learned from these experiences? Continue reading “Line of Duty Death”

10th Anniversary, a Tragic Story

by Tim Trickey
Captain, AEMCA
Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant [Paramedic]

Editor’s Note: Tim wrote this article for our Grieving Behind the Badge newsletter to help emergency responders cope with tragic calls, but most importantly, to share how he copes with depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

I was asked by a very dear friend of mine that has helped me through some very difficult years, to tell you about my daughter, Natasha.

I am a Paramedic in Ontario, Canada. Some of you may have been in the Kingston Area where I am still working. Ten years ago, I was the supervisor of a small, rural volunteer ambulance service that, at the time, had a call volume of about 500 calls per year. Like most, we hope we never have to respond to family emergencies. But like all small communities, it is usually someone you know, or in my case, family. Continue reading “10th Anniversary, a Tragic Story”

There Are No Winners

by Sgt Robert Ruth
City of Saginaw (MI) Police Department

Editor’s Note: Sgt Ruth shares his story of how the murder of his friend and co-worker’s teenage daughter changed the dynamics of being a police officer.

I have put a lot of thought into what has happened to Vince Sanchez over the past 13 years. I don’t know how I would react if I were in the same situation. Everyone reacts in a different fashion to a life-altering experience similar to the one that Vince has gone through over the years. Vince lost a daughter and the suspect’s family has lost a son, due to a very reckless decision that the suspect made on September 26, 1999 causing the death of Nicole “Coco” Sanchez, a teenager. Continue reading “There Are No Winners”

Twelve Years Later, the Healing Continues

by Vince Sanchez

Editor’s Note: In the May issue, I featured a story about the murder of Vince’s daughter, Coco: I Was Not Able to Protect My Daughter. Today, he shares some of what he has learned on his journey through grief.

There is no stopping grief. If you try to fight it or ignore it, grief can and will destroy you. Everyday people we come in contact with—co-workers, strangers whom we’ve just met, even animals—can pick up on the sadness and depression in you! Negative waves so to speak. At one time, someone mentioned to me that we have to find a reason to start living again. We also have to go through the grieving process one way or another. Continue reading “Twelve Years Later, the Healing Continues”

My Greatest Fear Was Failure

by James Livingston
Detective, City of Saginaw (MI) Police Department

Editor’s Note: Last month, we featured a story about the murder of Vince Sanchez’s daughter, I Was Not Able to Protect My Daughter. I asked if anyone from his department would like to share their story of how this death changed the dynamics of being a police officer that day. 

Peggy, it sounds like a very interesting and much needed thing for the law enforcement community. As an officer for the last 20 years, I must admit, I have seen, heard and done a lot and have chosen to forget most as a form of coping. If you will, I have attempted to separate certain realities to decrease the impact it may have on me or my ability to function as an officer, husband, and father. Continue reading “My Greatest Fear Was Failure”