TPD in Mourning Over Fallen Comrade

TOLEDO -- How do police officers grieve one of their own?

Do they openly cry? Do they embrace each other? Do they share memories of their fallen friend?

Are they angry at us -- the public whom they're sworn to protect? It was one of us, after all, who killed one of them Wednesday morning.

What goes on behind the doors of a department when a police officer is killed in the line of duty?

News 11's Dick Berry wanted to find out. When he arrived at the Toledo Police Patrolmen's Association Union Hall on Wednesday, the first thing he noticed was the American flag flying at half-staff -- a tribute to a fallen comrade.

Throughout the day, officers came and went, meeting with Toledo Police grief counselor John Lewton. They wanted to talk about Detective Keith Dressel, the officer who was shot in the heart in an exchange of gunfire with a teenager.

As Dick learned, it has been a tough day for these dedicated officers, but they're getting the help they need.

He also learned that even though they're cops, they're never prepared for the death of a fellow officer.

"Despite everything to prepare these folks for the possibility, you never can really prepare them for it," said Lewton. "It hits them as hard as a violent death hits anybody else."

By mid-day, Lewton had met with 30 grieving officers.

"It doesn't go away. It gets better. They don't forget it; they don't get over it. They get past it," Lewton said.

Detective Pat Gladieux used to be a member of the vice metro unit. He now heads up TPD's employee assistance program and says it takes a "special person" to work undercover.

"You've got to be willing to go the distance on a lot of things," said Gladieux. "Whether it's undercover work, search warrants -- you gotta really want to do a great job."

And the reason for that: You're out on the streets every day dealing with the worst elements of society. "It's a dangerous life. He was leading a dangerous life. It's just how the job is," Gladieux said.

Posted by KO