BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Birmingham Police Chaplain Liaison Marvin Neal explained this past week as an emotional roller coaster.
He said these officers are hurting. They’re broken. But they have a job to do.
So they put those pieces back together, wipe their tears, and get to work.
But what’s going on in their minds and in their hearts is important too.
“It’s a myth to believe that there’s an 'S' on our chest, because of course, there’s not,” said Neal. “We’re no different from them. It’s the profession we’ve chosen. And we don’t come to work not to go home. We go to work to return to our families.”
Families like Sgt. Wytasha Carter’s-- a wife who is now without a husband, and a daughter and son who are now without a father.
Instead, they now have their father’s police hat to remember him by and to hold close when their heart aches.
“We’re hurting. We’re shocked," said Neal. “Trying to come to grips with everything that has taken place. It doesn’t sometimes even seem real.”
Neal and officers with the Alabama Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support are serving as a source of relief, a hand to hold, and a shoulder to cry on for the grieving officers over the past week.
“To know that someone cares, someone has empathy for what they’re going through, someone can feel the pain that they’re feeling,” Neal said.
Two Alabama police officers were killed for doing their job, and now their fellow officers have to get back to work.
But Neal said having someone to vent to, and seeing the support from the community, helps remind them of why they got into the force in the first place.
“We’re built Ford tough,” said Neal. "That’s what we do. We have to put the boots back on and get to the next call. That’s what God has put in us. We’re made for that. We’re servants. And servants must continue to serve."
Neal told us they have about 35 volunteer chaplains who serve BPD, but they’re working now to bring in more to assist Neal as chaplains in the department.