Georgia police force coping with 3 deaths in 2 months

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — A police department is coping with the deaths of two captains and a corporal within two months.

Capt. Jackey Long, a 25-year veteran of the Co­lum­bus Police Depart­ment, died in early July shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. Cpl. Keith Slay, a 28-year department veteran died in a late July car crash while he was on duty. Capt. Vince Pasko, a 31-year police veteran, was found dead of what authorities have said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his house about two weeks ago.

“It has been one funeral after another,” police chaplain Roy Isasi said. Ricky Boren, the chief of the 488-person department, said he’s never seen so many casualties within the force in such a short time span.

“I am looking at promoting a captain, two lieutenants, two sergeants and a few corporals in the next few weeks as a direct result of what happened this summer,” Boren said.

Slay was a narcotics task force member who was also the only person in Columbus public safety authorized to fly a helicopter. His aerial skills were used for everything from surveillance to tactical operations. The department is now using a pilot from a south Alabama Army post and temporary pilots from the Georgia State Patrol until they’re able to replace Slay.

“Keith was in a smaller unit, and you could see the pain in each of their eyes,” Isasi said. “I believe some of those officers came to realize how precious life is. All of us take life for granted until something like this happens.”

Long and Pasko were both employed as specialists in business operations. Long was one of the department’s experts on employee benefits, and also worked for a business improvement district coordinating security on weekends and for large events.

Pasko worked in support services, helped lead the department’s launch of a $2.5 million record-keeping program and was an expert on employee pensions.

“Right now, you have a huge scramble to fill three big voids,” said Columbus Mayor and public safety director Teresa Tomlinson. “It is tough enough to fill one.”

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soapy_725 09/09/13 - 06:02 am
Sad for the loss. Story is misleading in some respects.

Sad for the loss. Story is misleading in some respects.

nocnoc 09/09/13 - 06:21 am
I would thank the families of

each for their years of service

I remember reading somewhere that the death rate for Police and Fire personnel increases dramatically near the 20-25 year mark and 6 months after retirement.

In the case of Corporal Keith Slay
He lost his life on July 30, 2013 in a car accident while chasing a suspected drug dealer.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/09/13 - 08:11 am
High-speed Chases

I'm sure Riverman will log on and give us his opinion of high-speed police chases for non-violent offenses.

JRC2024 09/09/13 - 08:49 am
LL, No worth putting me, the

LL, No worth putting me, the officers or anyone else in jepordy to catch one or two people. Catch them later.

urright 09/09/13 - 09:23 am

Two Captains in business operations? Wow.

Chief was so full of concern for...himself. "I have to go through the trouble of promoting people because these guys were inconsiderate and died on me." How coldhearted.

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