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Deputy opens up about trauma on the job

Posted at 6:42 PM, Apr 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 08:18:45-04
The Pima County Sheriff's Department is adding a new psychologist to their team. Doctor Rebecca Aadland joins the department as a resource for deputies who have experienced traumatic events on the job. Today, Nine On Your Side sat down with a sergeant who opened up about how therapy has helped him keep going.
 
"Quite often you get to see the ugly side of humanity," said Sergeant Erick Maldonado. 
 
No matter what the call is they'll show up.
 
"Calls that kind of hit home, quite frankly, calls that just rattle you, and shake you to the bone."
 
Maldonado has been with the Pima County Sheriff's Department for more than 21 years. During that time, he says there were three calls he'll never forget. Two were officer involved shootings using deadly force and more recently, he responding to a scene in the foothills where a father killed his two young girls two days before Christmas.
 
"I saw two little girls who had been shot. And it was just prior to Christmas. Those two little girls were wearing the same pajamas that my two little kids were wearing for Christmas."
 
An image that for him would never go away. 
 
From officer involved shootings and homicides to children drowning in pools... 
 
"There is nothing more emotional than having someone die in your hands."
 
Officers of the law still suit back up.
 
"You still have a job to do."
 
And to help them cope...
 
"Talking about it is therapy, it helps you maybe understand it, it helps you wrap your brain around it, but it also allows you to understand that what you're experiencing is normal."
 
His message to the public who may sometimes forget...
 
"Understand that cops are people too."