George Mason Police Officers Take Care of Their Own

Posted: October 31, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

The strong bond of brotherhood among police and rescue workers is unique, and actions of members of the George Mason Police Department affirmed that conviction in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 tragedies.

When he learned that the Arlington County Police Department needed trained volunteers to assist with efforts at the Pentagon, Ofc. Robert Nieves recruited Ofc. Paul Rickert and Sgt. Donnie Doggett to join him in helping out. The George Mason officers each worked a 16-hour shift, assisting with traffic control and site accessibility during Gov. James Gilmore’s tour of the disaster site.

The officers were honored at Fed Ex Field during a ceremony before the Sept. 30 Redskins football game. They also were invited to a community program hosted by the Arlington County Board to honor those who lost their lives at the Pentagon and to express appreciation to those who helped in rescue efforts. “It is the nature of people in our profession to come to the aid of one another,” says Chief Michael Lynch. “This is a good example.”

And Lynch set another good example with his service at New York Port Authority headquarters. As a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Victim Assistance, an agency that provides specialized crisis intervention to schools and police and fire departments during catastrophies or criminal actions, he was one of several NOVA members to travel to the New York disaster site to offer emotional support and peer assistance to Port Authority officers.

The Trans Hudson unit Lynch worked with comprised 80 officers, and 13 of them never returned from the World Trade Center. The unit suffered the highest mortality rate of any of the Port Authority units. “Officers worked 12-hour shifts or longer, they attended colleagues’ funerals, they’d come talk to members of the crisis team, and then they returned to the grueling rescue work at the site,” Lynch says.

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