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  1. #1
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    Death notifications. How are they best handled?

    How do you think the police should handle death notifications of the family of the deceased? Have you had such an experience, and how was it handled? Do you think it could have been done better?

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  2. #2
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    At my current dept I havent had to do this. At my last dept we always brought one of our department chaplains with us for the notification. They helped tremendously with the notification and the range of emotions experienced right then.
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  3. #3
    Car 4's Avatar
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    We used to joke about knocking on the door and asking, "Are you the widow Jones?"


    We dumped that duty years ago....now the Medical Examiner's office does it.


    Car 4
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  4. #4
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    We covered this quite a bit HERE
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  5. #5
    countybear's Avatar
    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tango Zulu 22 View Post
    We covered this quite a bit HERE
    Most certainly correct, sir. However, there we "Ask(ed)-a-cop", here we "Ask-the-public" their opinion...

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
    - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

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  6. #6
    121Traffic's Avatar
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    Our PD has a Victim Advocate respond out, and the officer stands by for security only. Could be from our paid staff if it happens during business hours. After hours, it is whoever is on-call.
    "If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    Most certainly correct, sir. However, there we "Ask(ed)-a-cop", here we "Ask-the-public" their opinion...
    Note to self, fully RTFQ!

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  8. #8
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    As I posted in the Ask-a-cop section, I had an experience that could have been better. APD was supposed to get Milwaukee PD to do the death notification to next of kin in person, but for some reason it didn't happen. When I called the family to let them know my part of the investigation, I realized 3 seconds into the conversation that they hadn't been notified. It was a rough phone call. However, I treated the victim's mother like I would want my mother to be treated. I didn't beat around the bush, I told her what happened and that OSHA was investigating it. I gave her my work info and the APD spokesman info (he's a pastor).
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  9. #9
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    Typically the medical examiner does them. I had to do it on the last death I was on. Sucked because they live a couple houses away from me. We thought it was someone else driving their boy's car. Turned out it was his fake ID and it was their son.
    Drug Recognition Expert

  10. #10
    Deputy347k9 is offline Rookie
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    Here in the State of Maine the officers make the death notification to the next of kin. I agree with many in this post as the previous post, there is no perfect way or correct way, however there are many wrong ways. Beyond a shadow of doubt make sure you have the correct individual, check, double check and recheck before you visit any family. You must be professional and show great compassion, regardless of the cause of death, that person was still someone's child or loved one.
    I found many times the family knew before I ever got the words out. Approaching the home I made sure I looked my best, knocked on the door and asked if I could please come inside. Of course I wanted to identify who I was speaking with, then find out if they had a chhild by the name of..... Once told you face many different reactions, fainting, cursing you, crying beyond control, all you can do is hold them.
    As one other officer stated, this is not like returning a lost registration plate, you STAY with the person for as long as it takes. Never leave them alone! I would not leave until that person was with family members or friends.
    I became an LEO with in a month of my retiring from the Marine Corps on July 1, 1991. Only a few month into my new and exciting job fellow officers had to deliver such a message to my family. Before my brothers and sisters could get to the wife and I the local news at 2200 hours aired there had been a motor vehicle accident that claimed the lives of three young teenagers. Of course the wife and I had been anxious due to the fact Misty Renee' had only gone shopping with her two cousins and were to be home at 2100 hours. Watching the new release I jumped into my vehicle and reaced to the scene. Thank God fellow officers stopped me before arriving. They hugged me, held me and cried with me. I could not have made it without them. We lost all three girls when another vehicle impacted them, they were 15, 16 and 17.
    My ordeal tragic as it may be, made me a much better person. When facing parents over the years I spoke with first hand experience. Bad things do happen to good people also.

    Larry

  11. #11
    Pudge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Car 4 View Post
    We used to joke about knocking on the door and asking, "Are you the widow Jones?"


    We dumped that duty years ago....now the Medical Examiner's office does it.


    Car 4

    I've heard that one.

    I had to do one a year or two ago to one of our well known clients. He was not a fan of us and always gave us a hard time any time we showed up, for any reason.

    I did all of the pre-notification checks and headed up to the guy's house. I park in the side lot and walk around the front to find he and his buddy on the front porch. As soon as they see me they start their routine. I call him by name and try to reason with him as much as possible, just trying to get him to settle long enough to listen to me, and convince him I'm not there to mess with him on that day.

    After about 5 minutes of getting "M-f'd" up one side and down the other and him refusing to shut up long enough to listen to me I look at him and said, "Alright, fine, we'll handle this your way. Your cousin's dead, call your mom" I promptly turned around and left.

    Not the way I'd have preferred to handle it, but he left me no choice.
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  12. #12
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deputy347k9 View Post
    Only a few month into my new and exciting job fellow officers had to deliver such a message to my family. Before my brothers and sisters could get to the wife and I the local news at 2200 hours aired there had been a motor vehicle accident that claimed the lives of three young teenagers. Of course the wife and I had been anxious due to the fact Misty Renee' had only gone shopping with her two cousins and were to be home at 2100 hours. Watching the new release I jumped into my vehicle and reaced to the scene. Thank God fellow officers stopped me before arriving. They hugged me, held me and cried with me. I could not have made it without them. We lost all three girls when another vehicle impacted them, they were 15, 16 and 17.
    My ordeal tragic as it may be, made me a much better person. When facing parents over the years I spoke with first hand experience. Bag things do happen to good people also.

    Larry
    I can't imagine how horrible that must have been. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  13. #13
    Jenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pudge View Post
    After about 5 minutes of getting "M-f'd" up one side and down the other and him refusing to shut up long enough to listen to me I look at him and said, "Alright, fine, we'll handle this your way. Your cousin's dead, call your mom" I promptly turned around and left.
    They asked for it. It sounds like they wouldn't have been receptive to your help anyway.

  14. #14
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    A dead notification of family is one of the worst task you have to do during the job. Like someone already said check check and double check before you go to the family.

    We have to do all the notifications are selves. I have experienced that when you ring the door and they open the family instantly knows there is something wrong.

    They learned us not to say it while you're still standing in the doorway but to wait till they sit down.

    In my language there are different ways to say someones dead.

    They learned us to say there loved one is dead and not to say deceased.

    If you translate the word 'deceased' in dutch it's very similar to 'run over' so some people would here that there loved one is run over instead of deceased.

    deceased = overleden
    run over = overreden

 

 

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