NYPD’s family grief unit helps members’ loved ones deal with loss

Posted at 11:09 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 23:09:43-05

NEW YORK — NYPD Sgt. Patrick Whalen is part of a brotherhood that intervenes when tragedy hits the police force.

Whalen was apart of the team that notified the families of Det. Wenjian Lui and Det. Rafael Ramos after they were ambushed in their patrol car back in 2014.

"When we meet the families we try to put them at ease but its not always easy. One of the things I do I introduce myself as Sgt. Whalen but please call me Pat," said Whalen.

It's that human approach and selfless spirit that makes up the 23-member Employee Relations Section.

Chief Thomas Burns has been with the ERS for 32 years.

"It takes a special person to handle the grieving process, give a shoulder to cry on," said Burns.

The work of ERS does not stop after notification, they are there with the families for as long as it takes.

ERS works with NYPD Chaplains and the Ceremonial Unit to make sure all needs are met.