Sheriff Nielsen writes letter to staff after Deputy Pickett laid to rest

BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – After yesterday’s emotional day, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen penned a letter to his staff on Saturday morning.

In the note, Sheriff Nielsen says their front office will be closed on Monday as staff works to take down Deputy Pickett’s memorial. The Lafayette tent company will be there at 9:00 a.m. to help them.

“The flood of emotions that I saw in your grieving faces was undeniable and expected from each of you,” Nielsen said.

Deputy Pickett leaves behind a wife and two sons after he was fatally shot in the line of duty.

You can read the entire post below:

“An open email to BCSO staff…Jake would want us to thicken that Thin Blue Line…
March 10, 2018
To: Boone County Sheriff’s Office staff
From: Sheriff Mike Nielsen
Subject: Proud and Honored to serve each of you…………..

As we filed by Jake last night for the final time at the gravesite, I could not help but watch each one of you as you passed. The flood of emotions that I saw in your grieving faces was undeniable and expected from each of you. Its ok to hurt and it is ok to feel and show your emotions, something that I personally have learned and experienced over the last couple of years. Our lives have been rocked, we have hurt badly for the last week and we will continue to hurt for a long time to come. 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.

As the proud Sheriff of this office I want to promise you that I will stand beside each one of you and walk beside you as we face the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. I have said over and over that we cannot un-see the things that we see in our profession, I wish we could. I will need you as much as you will need me, possibly even more. Some of us may never recover fully from this incident but we can and will stand strong in Jake’s honor. I know the community is overwhelmingly behind us, you witnessed that yesterday. We will lean on them in those dark days ahead to help us though.
As we all begin to get back into our daily routines and begin to come back to work I want to let each of you know what my plans are moving forward. 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. For some of you, it may be too soon to come back to work. If you feel that this is the case, confidentially speak to your supervisor or come directly to me, not one other person will know. I will work with each of you individually to plan on when that day should be. At some point and time real soon, I personally will need to get away for a few days to gather my thoughts, I am not ashamed to admit that. Refer to our Officer Wellness SOG and please know that confidentially in these situations is vital to the overall success of the Officer Wellness program. Once again, together we will all get through this.

Below are my plans moving forward from today. Some of the things we will talk about may seem premature or disrespectful because of timing but it clearly is not meant to be that way. It is my job and my mission to make sure that we get back to some normalcy over the next few days. We will NEVER forget…….

– Monday the front office will be closed. Myself, the administrative staff, and our command staff will work Monday to take down Jakes memorial in front of the jail. The Lafayette tent company will be here at 0900 to remove the tent.

– Our command staff and key core planning team will debrief about the administrative items that took place over the last week

– We will be working on a solution for Jakes vehicle and equipment

– I believe most of you attended our mandatory Critical Incident Stress debrief/introduction on Monday about our plans moving forward from an officer wellness perspective. I will continue to work with Rachel, our mental health consultant, and IMPD Critical Incident Stress Team to provide a debrief for everyone (all agencies) that were involved in the incident that day. We will then have a departmental only debrief by that team for our agency alone. I have been working on and planning this debrief with many people since last Friday when this occurred. We will conduct this debrief this week. We are currently finalizing plans.

– We will need a team of staff to volunteer to be on a memorial team to work on the best way to memorialize Jake. They will also look at how to memorialize those that have gone before us while employed here but not involved in a line of duty death. This team will stay together and plan for an event next year in Jake’s honor.

– We currently have an SOG for an In the Line of Duty Death. We have followed that SOG but have found areas that we must improve upon. We will work from our experience over the last week and get better and hope it will never be used again. If it does, we will be more prepared.

– I have worked hard to get a 501C3 Corporation set up to hold donations for Jen and the family the legal way. We will begin to go over and document all the donation money, gifts, etc. and figure out a time for us to present them to Jen and her family as a group.

– Our Command staff will receive updates on the criminal investigation as well as the ongoing internal investigation that we are running parallel to the criminal case with ISP. (internal investigations are standard for these types of situations)

– I will work on the planning of a retirement ceremony for Brik and making sure that he is taken care of

– We will continue to update the media and social media posts as needed. I have tried to update the media daily and this will begin to taper off rapidly. However, we will be very active on Social media. I personally will be limiting my daily social media posts.

– We will form a team to work on sending out something and showing our appreciation to all of those that assisted us during the last week. We must come up with what, when. and how.

– I will meet with Jen this week or next to discuss many things related to Jake

– I will work on all the administrative issues dealing with a LOD death

There are many more items for us to accomplish. We will be reaching out to each of you for assistance over the next few days. I will finalize the “to do list” tomorrow. This email will be posted on social media so that everyone knows that we will all be getting back in that saddle and we have a lot of work to accomplish in Jakes honor. Transparency is important to me but being respectful to Jake is more important. We will continue our internal communications but I will be scaling back my daily social media posts.

Once again, I am proud to serve each of you and to walk beside you in tough times. I am here for whatever any of you need.