Counseling helps police officers cope with horrific crime scenes

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been six years since Lieutenant Vicky Afisov’s daughter was brutally killed.  

“She was strangled and tortured,” Afisov said. “She fought for her life.”  

Afisov still remembers the crime scene. 

“Sheriff Blackwelder comes walking out the house with a baby in his arms and behind him, the yellow caution tape went up,” she said.  

Her 21-year-old daughter, Jessica Brown, was one of six people killed in Lincoln County in October 2012.  

The victims’ bodies were found in three locations. It’s a painful memory triggered by seven people being murdered in Westmoreland Saturday night. 

“It automatically brings memories back, what I had to go through,” the mother said.  

“What we were dealing with, what we were hearing, smelling, seeing at those gruesome scenes,” said Captain Joyce McConnell with Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department.  

McConnell says the crime scenes are not only gruesome for family but also for officers who carry the trauma for years. 

“Depression, anxiety, isolation,” McConnell said. “One of my investigators, he just broke down and cried.” 

It’s trauma Afisov now helps others work through. 

“We’re there to listen and help if we can,” she said.  

She counsels officers after they work the most gruesome cases through critical incident stress debriefing. 

“It’s a lot of talking,” Afisov said. “It’s a lot of interaction.” 

The counseling is voluntary. 

“They tend to listen more from somebody that’s been through it than somebody who hasn’t,” she said. 

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