Gruesome crime scenes haunt officers, first responders for years - WKRN News 2

Gruesome crime scenes haunt officers, first responders for years

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Horrific crimes can leave a lasting impact on law enforcement officers and first responders.

On Tuesday morning in a Sumner County courtroom, Hendersonville police officer Jeremy Fentress was overcome with emotion as he recalled the graphic and gruesome details of September 14, 2011.

That is the day he responded to the home of Lindsey Lowe, the woman accused of killing her twin newborn sons.

"He had to hand baby one to me because the umbilical chord was still attached, the placenta was still intact and then at the bottom [of the laundry basket] there was another newborn," Fentress said on the witness stand.

However, this is the harsh reality for law enforcement, EMS workers and firefighters responding to crime scenes, accidents and other cases so disturbing that it can be tough to forget.

"We all handle stress differently, we all handle critical incidents differently, and we all handle grief differently," Mt. Juliet Chief of Police James Hambrick, who also has a PhD in Psychology, told Nashville's News 2.

Hambrick encourages his officers to speak with a professional after any sort of traumatic event in the line of duty.

Departments like Mount Juliet's provide their officers with resources such as police crisis counselors through PASS, Police Advocacy Support Systems, a division of Metro Nashville's police department.

"One thing we know about us in law enforcement is that we keep a lot of things in, and internalize a lot of things," Hambrick said. "We often times talk amongst ourselves but there are times when we need to talk with somebody else that's a professional."

Hambrick also said sharing with a professional is important to help the officer move forward.

"It's a needed outlet for an officer to be able to talk about what happened and the internal feelings of how, what they're experiencing," he explained.

Hambrick said that in cases and crime scenes involving children, like the Lindsey Lowe case, it's often times even more difficult for police officers to process.

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