BOONE COUNTY, Ind. -- The Boone County sheriff is telling his staff “it’s OK to hurt” after burying a fellow deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
Sheriff Mike Nielsen made that comment as part of an open letter to Boone County sheriff's employees Saturday morning, just hours after the burial of Deputy Jacob Pickett.
"This pain, grief, and suffering will not go away anytime soon and for some of us, it may never go away. We must conquer this journey together," said Nielsen.
The sheriff let his staff know there is help for those who may think it's too soon to come back and says he will work with them to determine the best day for them to return based on how they are emotionally handling Dep. Pickett's death. Sheriff Nielsen acknowledged he will also need a few days to get away to gather his thoughts.
Nielsen has been a very vocal advocate for mental health treatment for officers over the past few years.
In addition, the sheriff addressed his plans for moving forward in the days, weeks and months to come.
"Knowing Jake and his attitude toward his job, he wants us to get back into the saddle and begin to fight that good fight once again. He knows that the thin blue line is not as strong without you on it."
Sheriff Nielsen says while some may think some of these things are too premature to discuss, it's his job to make sure the Boone County Sheriff's Office gets back to normalcy while never forgetting Dep. Pickett.
Here are a few of the items he listed:
The front office of sheriff's office will be closed Monday so the sheriff, administrative staff and command staff can disassemble Jake's memorial
Determining what will happen to Dep. Pickett's vehicle and equipment
The sheriff will be looking for staff to volunteer to work on the best way to memorialize Jake
Planning a retirement ceremony for Brik and making sure he is taken care of
Documenting donations, gifts, etc. and figure out at time to present them to Dep. Pickett's wife, Jennifer, and family as a group
"Meet with Jen this week or next to discuss many things related to Jake"