Bearing Bad News. Making a Death Notification.

Two police officers are given the difficult task of making a death notification.   A young man was killed in an automobile crash several miles away in another jurisdiction.

The officers grab the teletype sent to them from the neighboring police department where the accident took place, read the information and the address of the boy’s parents, the next of kin that they are about to notify, and head out together.

It’s 2:30 a.m., dark, and the officers are concentrating on reading house numbers to make sure that they stop at the correct address.   They get out of the squad car and walk up to the front door of the boy’s parents.   One of the officers knocks. After a while a woman, presumably the boy’s mother, answers the door.

Seeing two officers standing on the front porch at 2:30 in the morning is not a good sign.   The woman asks the officers, “What’s wrong?” ”  What happened?”   At about this point the two officers look at each other, and they both suddenly realize that they haven’t discussed with each other which of them was going to actually make the notification.

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