Sunday, March 4th, 2018 by

Who can you talk to when your officer has just had to kill someone in the line of duty?

EDITORS NOTE:
Lori and Dave Barron have worked for years to promote family support within the Evansville Indiana Police Department (EPD) and they have always offered their assistance to other agencies and concerned family members as well. Don’t forget the effect a critical incident can have on law enforcement families and work to build a strong family support network before you need one! Here is Lori’s story:

I am the proud wife of Sergeant Dave Barron and admire my spouse and all other Law Enforcement Officers and their families. Dave has been on the Evansville Indiana Police Department (EPD) for 27 years and will be retiring March 2018 and it’s a little bitter sweet for me I must say. I want you all to know this life is not always easy but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Support each other, you are stronger and more resilient than you even realize.

July 4, 2003 started out like any other night as my husband went to work on third shift motor patrol. Around 2 am I was awakened by a call from Dave that he had just shot someone but he was ok. I had a million questions for him and he had… no answers. The first thing I wanted to do was come to the police station and see him eye to eye and make sure he was ok. He had no idea if they would let me come and had to get off the phone for the six hour paperwork and interviewing process that was ahead of him. I have a hard time taking no for an answer and called enough people that one of the officers met me at the police station and let me in. I was put into a small room by myself to wait to see my husband. We had a few minutes to talk by ourselves and let our guard down before he had to get back to the investigation. My mind kept racing as to who can I tell my husband just shot and killed someone? I was worried about what people would think, will his name be on the news or in the paper, will this be ruled a clean shoot, will we get sued, how is Dave going to recover from this, will it happen again and will the outcome be different?

We finally got home in the morning and we were both exhausted and wide awake at the same time. I filtered a lot of the calls for Dave so he could try to get some rest. This may sound strange but I felt almost like I was receiving calls from people that were following up because someone had died.
Several days beforehand we had planned to go car shopping and even though I didn’t feel like leaving the house, Dave still wanted to go. To use his words “I want to go do something normal because I just did something not normal.” By the way the car ended up being a lemon and we ended up selling it. The next day he wanted to mow the grass because that was another thing that was normal and he said just riding around on the mower helped him run everything over again in his mind. I remember him telling me the next night when he came to bed he saw me alone in the bed sleeping, and it hit him, that his spot in the bed might have been permanently empty if things had gone differently.

Dave was off for three days after his shooting, that is just standard procedure. His first night back on third shift I was scared to death for him to head to work. I was worried that something bad would happen to him and wondered if his mind would be focused to work the streets again.
I am not the same person I was before his critical incident but I am more compassionate than ever for my extended family in blue. I have a strong desire to help other families that have been involved in a critical incident and for them to know they are not alone. Through this incident both Dave and I were involved in developing the Peer and Family Support Team for our department. After news of our teams spread throughout the Law Enforcement community, we started getting contacted by other agencies to find out how we did it and what we’re about.

There are both law enforcement and fire departments literally coast to coast who we have helped to develop peer support teams. I am very proud to assist these agencies so others don’t have to walk this journey alone. Helping others though these stressful time is such a blessing. My desire is to continue to help other Law Enforcement Agencies develop their own teams.

I want others to realize, once the event has passed, the stress and fear doesn’t necessarily stop in just a few days or weeks and there can be many twists and turns to this journey. Several years ago a family member of the man my husband had to shoot was in the cardiac rehab program I managed and I was panicked she would find out who I was. The anxiety I felt when I saw her was overwhelming and I tried to make sure I wasn’t around when she was there. Also within the last 2 years his daughter has contacted my husband and wanted to meet him. Since both of her parents are dead, Dave is the only one that can truly tell her what actually happened. She has also tried to contact me to see if I was the wife of Dave Barron on Facebook. 14 years later his incident is still affecting us.

If you have a strong desire to develop Peer and Family Support teams, we are willing to share how our teams got started. Take the first step to improving the overall well-being of your Law Enforcement Family today.

Learn more about Lori and Dave Barron’s work in our article entitled “Creating Peer and Family Support Groups for Police Agencies” which includes an audio podcast of my interview with them at:
https://www.copsalive.com/creating-peer-and-family-support-groups-for-police-agencies/

Also check out our article entitled “Family Support Groups for Law Enforcement Agencies” with an interview of Heidi Hansen and Michael Mejia about their program at:
https://www.copsalive.com/family-support-groups-for-law-enforcement-agencies/

You can learn about the Law Enforcement Family Support Network of Minnesota here: http://www.lawenforcementfamilysupport.org/

And learn more on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Institute for Community Police Relations Family Resource page at: http://www.theiacp.org/ICPRlawenforcementfamily

Here is a Link to the Florida State University Institute On Family Violence Studies – Law Enforcement Families Partnership site which contains information on Police Domestic Violence prevention at: http://familyvio.csw.fsu.edu/lefp/

Read Dea Bridge’s article on CopsAlive entitled: “Law Enforcement Is A Family Commitment” here:
https://www.copsalive.com/law-enforcement-is-a-family-commitment/

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