Newtown Public Safety Officers, More Attend Stress Sessions In A - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Newtown Public Safety Officers, More Attend Stress Sessions In Augusta

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Augusta commissioner Joe Jackson, was doing his part, spending his own money and time to provide lunch for those who face tragedy as a part of life, he was cooking on a grill outback of a west Augusta church.

"I love law enforcement I love law enforcement and the firefighter community if I can't be one of them I'll just help them," said Jackson.

That is what 40 or so law enforcement and family are doing in Augusta, looking for help, taking part in a peer counseling program put on by the Georgia State Patrol.

"The peer concept is the whole essence of what we are doing here at the end of the day when you've been involved in a horrific incident you get the most out of talking to people who have been where you've been," said Lieutenant Andy Carrier of the Georgia State Patrol.

Aiken Public Safety officers have been there they've seen two fellow officers shot down and have people attending these sessions.

So does Richmond County, who also lost an officer to a gunman.

These counseling sessions for officers are funded through donations and the city of Augusta contributed 5000 dollars for the three day event.

"We think it's a good thing, it's a program that I was familiar with in the past we think it's well worth our while to help take care of our own," says City Administrator Fred Russell.

Also being taken care of are 12 of the public safety officers who responded to the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December in Newtown Connecticut.

 "I think from their perspective they see it very similarly each person's crisis is thee own crisis we attend to that," says Reverend Doctor Eric Skidmore of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

Also being attended to are three officers who were at the school shooting at Columbine, Colorado and the shootings at Virginia Tech.

  They are all in Augusta to care for each other.

"Peer based, the expertise from the field of mental health, chaplains, it's an alliance you bring together it's very curative the curative factors are very strong," says Skidmore.

The three day event ends Thursday but Augusta officials are hoping to have repeat sessions here in the future.

 

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