JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - As Deputy Chief Deric Hearn begins his shift at the Jackson Police Department, he never knows what the day will bring.
Unfortunately for him, in 2020, his work days have involved investigating the city’s record number of homicides this year.
The City of Jackson has seen a total of 101 shooting deaths in 2020.
“I’ve been a part of practically all of them," said Hearn, JPD Deputy Chief of Major Investigations.
Hearn said homicides are happening at an alarming rate and it’s taking a toll on officers mentally and emotionally.
“Every time you look around you’re going to a crime scene where a body has been shot up, or someone has been in a fatality or something like that, it takes a toll on you,” he said.
The deputy chief said the tragedies will sometimes linger with them, even after the scene is cleared.
That’s why the department offers counseling to help officers cope and decompress.
However, Hearn said he turns to his faith to help him heal.
“My counseling is prayer,” Hearn explained. “I pray to the Lord and I ask him to give me the strength and the understanding to do my job and be professional.”
The veteran officer uses his leadership role to give words of encouragement and lift up his colleagues during trying times.
In a field where many expect them to be tough guys, Hearn said they’re human too, trying to do the best they can in some of the worst situations.
“We cry just like you cry, we walk just like you walk, we talk just like you talk," he expressed. "This is just a uniform, but our job is to serve the public.”
Hearn said the safety and well being of each officer is a top priority.
If an officer is supposed to work a shift, but needs that day off to decompress after experiencing something traumatic, another officer will fill-in and work that shift and help out.