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Richmond officer on the impact of horrific crime scenes

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jul 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-22 23:38:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--One Richmond officer knows all too well what that's like to show up for a horrific crime scene.

“When you look at Virginia Tech, Columbine and now Aurora - those are very horrific scenes,” Captain Steve Drew said. “Richmond has never had anything in that scale, and I pray to God that we never do.”

But as an officer with the Richmond Police Department for 23 years, Major Drew has been to hundreds of crimes scenes and is well aware of the emotional toll it can sometimes take on officers, especially if the victim is a child.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, a 6-year-old was killed in the Colorado shootings Friday.

“That is hard. You`ll see a lot of officers that`ll spend time talking about that afterwards, or others may deal with it as 'we don`t want to talk about it at all,’” said Drew.

“Our chief, Chief Norwood is extremely cognizant to officers well being and their health. We have an incident team, and incidence stress management where officers are set up like a support group,” said Drew.

But no matter what support you receive, it's hard to ever forget the scene of a crime that struck you.

For Drew, it was the Baskerville murders in January, 2006.  Two of the victim's throats were slashed, and one of them had a plastic bag wrapped around her face.

Drew was among the first officers to arrive at the scene on East Broad Rock Road.

“I remember the Baskerville murders, when we went through the door, and there were three individuals deceased inside that house,” he recalled.

“One, and then the second, and then the third. Yeah, for me, that was impactful.”

Even six years later, he said that a drive down Broad Rock conjures memories of the murders.

“I remember the scenes, I remember the lights, I remember how the cars were parked,” he said.

The carnage in Colorado may leave an indelible mark on some of the law enforcement officers who responded and worked on the case.

“Our prayers go out to the family of the victims in Aurora, and our hearts go out to the officers who are having to deal with the carnage of tragedy,” said Drew.