BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – Police work takes its toll on those in law enforcement, as an emotional post from Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen proves.
Nielsen and his wife, Linda, took to Facebook Tuesday night to write about their daughter, Lebanon Officer Taylor Nielsen, who they said almost lost her life to post-traumatic stress disorder. The Nielsens said the PTSD was brought on by the shocking murder of a mother and her son earlier this year.
They were referring to the deaths of 31-year-old Katherine Janet Giehll and 4-year-old Raymond Peter Giehll, who were killed in February by a relative upset over a family trust.
Sheriff Nielsen said a key decision he made in the wake of those murders almost resulted in the “ultimate sacrifice” of his career.
“I always thought giving my life would be the ultimate sacrifice on my job…I never imagined my decision that day to send my daughter into the autopsy of a young child to document the evidence would have triggered what was almost truly the ultimate sacrifice of my career – my daughter,” Nielsen wrote.
He referred to himself as a “broken man” but said he and his family would heal with “God’s grace, prayer and the right treatment.”
According to Nielsen, PTSD is not talked about nearly enough in his profession because police officers feel it’s a sign of weakness. He urged family members to do a better job of identifying the signs that loved ones are suffering.
“Taylor was not given the proper treatment when this happened by her employer because of this lack of recognition and understanding,” Nielsen wrote. “Taylor wanted us to share her story to save other lives. Taylor feels very strongly that this is the beginning of a path that God has laid for her to help others with PTSD. This will be the beginning of our advocacy with her.”
Nielsen and his wife called their daughter “strong” and “brave.”
“As parents, we will be working closely with the Lebanon Police Department to assure that she has the proper treatment this time and can return to work to the job she so dearly loves. We want to publicly thank two Lebanon police officers, Ben Phelps and Tommy Nash, whom had the guts to do the right thing when she reached out and saved her life,” they wrote.
“For those of you that have prayed for us over the last 48 hours, our hearts are full. God is so good. Although our paths are not always the easiest, faith tells us there are openings that come from them.”
The Nielsens urged people to share the post to raise awareness about PTSD and show support for their daughter.