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Officer Kevin Murphy

P.E.A.P. Coordinator
Henderson Police Department

E.O.W. 10.05.2016

I DIDN'T GET TO SAY GOODBYE...

     I write this with a very heavy heart as my best friend Officer Kevin Murphy from the Henderson, Nevada Police Department took his own life on 10-05-2016. One of those days where you'll remember for the rest of your life where you were. I was in Phoenix presenting when I got the call and the news of his death literally brought me to my knees. It hurt and hurt bad. I even struggle wit the word "suicide" because that's something that doesn't happen to my friends. I deal with people in crisis every day and for the first time I didn't know what to do and didn't realize I was about to go into crisis mode. I'll talk more about that later, but I want to tell you about my best friend.

     Kevin was the Director of the Henderson Police Department PEAP Program (Police Employee Assistance Program) and he has been with Safe Call Now since date of inception in 2009. He was not only a Peer Advocate, but also an Advisory Board Member. Kevin and I hit it off the first time we met. Not because we both help those in crisis, but because we both had genuine interest in each other's personal lives and family. He's one of the few people that I could talk to about life while keeping "work" out of the conversation. What made Kevin so special was his humor, his warm smile and genuine concern towards me and my well-being. At Kevin's funeral one thing that was said repeatedly is that you always felt safe when you were with Kevin. You know what? They were 100% right.

     Whenever I flew to Las Vegas, I would always tell my wife that I "get to see Kev this week". Kevin always ensured I had a ride from the airport to my hotel where we would spend quality time together and share our stories about "Life". Kevin's Las Vegas mantra was this: "If you fold your bills in half, you will for sure double your money here in Vegas. Really?! I'm a drug addict in recovery, so we know that's not going to happen. He and I would laugh and laugh - you know those belly laughs that come from deep down inside. I was honored to be asked to speak at his police/military funeral and although I was struggling with my own emotions, I just knew it was beyond deserving to honor Kevin by delivering an eloquent and meaningful eulogy. 

     When I did receive the call of Kevin's death, I automatically kicked into "Safe Call Now" mode trying to determine what services I was going to bring to Henderson and what debriefings or peer support meetings I was going to attend. Thank God for my dear friends Ron Jones, Mike Pool and the Safe Call Now Board of Directors. They immediately shut me down and advised that I would not be involved in any type of debrief, healing or peer support activity of any kind until I had an opportunity to deal with my own emotions. At first I was caught off guard until they made me realize that I needed to process my feelings. I am fortunate to have started this journey towards healing; however, I know it's going to take a long time for me to walk through the loss of my best friend.

     On the morning of Kevin's funeral, I still didn't know what I was going to say, but then it came to me and for selfish reasons. What was bothering me was that I didn't get the opportunity to say goodbye to my good friend. I'm not angry about it, rather I'm hurt and heartbroken. I'm not even sure if or when I will ever come to terms with Kevin's passing. Life happened on Life's terms and I don't like it - especially in this instance. I don't always know about life and what it has in store for all of us, but I do know my best friend is gone and I'm struggling with it. Yes, I'll admit it, I am in counseling...I need to be. Even though this tragedy happened, Kevin gave me many great gifts. He gave me the gift that I needed to take a look at myself. Not to be so caught up in "work". To slow down and learn to live and be present in life. For that, I will forever be grateful to him. He also gave me the gift of welcoming me and my wife into his family. His beautiful wife, Leticia and their amazing children, Amelia, Brandon and Cameron... just an incredible gift.

     My heart is broken, but it's not empty. I will always have a special place in my heart for Kevin and his family and I've learned that I, too, have a delicate place in my heart for my family, friends and others, which I seem to take for granted at times. I thought going to Las Vegas would now be totally different since Kevin is no longer there; that there would inevitably be a big hole in my heart every time I was to land at the airport. What I now realize is that this is far from the truth. There will always be a special place in my heart for Las Vegas because I know Kevin was and always will be there in spirit and for that I am able to find inner peace.

     "In the wake of a sudden death, 'normal' ceases to exist - I wasn't ready to say goodbye." To you my brother, the influence, joy and friendship you brought to me and my family I can never pay back. It will never be Goodbye, Kevin; rather, until we meet again. You were a great one. Godspeed.

-Sean Riley

Kevin Murphy began his career in law enforcement in 1991 with the Henderson Police Department. Since beginning his career he has served in areas such as Department Training Officer, Southern Nevada Regional Police Academy – Training And Counseling (TAC) Officer, D.A.R.E. Officer, Community Relations Officer and the City of Henderson Special Events Coordinator. In 2008 Kevin suffered a back injury leaving him with a permanent partial disability. In June of 2009, Kevin relinquished his commission and obtained the position of Police Employee Assistance Coordinator. He is currently a member of the E.A.P. Multi-Jurisdictional Emergency Response Task Force, Advisory Board Member of the Trauma Intervention Program, Board of Representatives for the Injured Police Officers Fund and sits on the Board of Directors of HPD Family Support Network. As such Kevin now assists employees, and their family members, who are experiencing personal or job-related issues. He offers all employees an objective and non-judgmental resource to contact for advice and assistance to deal with problems which may or may not affect job performance. Kevin assists employees with referrals, coordinates professional counseling resources, and maintains the anonymity and confidentiality of participants. Should an employee experience a significantly stressful event or crisis situation, he will be available for immediate response to the affected employee’s location to provide intervention assistance, if desired. Kevin has also become a Peer Advocate for Safe Call Now to assist the first responders in Southern Nevada.