Local Law Enforcement Rallies to Support Louisiana Agent - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/10/05

Local Law Enforcement Rallies to Support Louisiana Agent

Colleagues are spending lots of time at the hospital. Colleagues are spending lots of time at the hospital.

It doesn't matter where they come from; when one officer of the law goes down, they all pitch in to help. More than 800 miles from home, some Louisiana law enforcement officers are getting support in the Coastal Empire, and local officers rushing to their aid.

Sgt. Richard Childers was in Hilton Head with the Drug Enforcement Administration from Shreveport when he collapsed at a conference. And while doctors are tending to his needs, his colleagues say local law enforcement officers are meeting theirs.

DEA agents handle drug busts and dangerous crimes, but this is different. "We had no clue, there were no telltale signs of anything that might be impending," said Keith Billiot, the resident DEA agent in charge from Shreveport, Louisiana.

He is spending most of his time at the hospital, after 41-year-old Sgt. Childers, a 19-year veteran with the Drug Enforcement Administration, collapsed while they were getting an award at a drug task force conference in Hilton Head.

Capt. Mark Holly of the Shreveport police said, "Right now it just tears everybody apart that we can't do anything to help him."

But his fellow law enforcement officers can. Since Monday night, Savannah-Chatham police, GBI officers and local DEA agents have been walking through the hospital doors, helping out however they can.

"We received a number of invitations from officers opening their homes, if the family or we needed a place to stay," Agent Billiot told us. "As a matter of fact, one of the local DEA agents has loaned his car to the family."

Billiot says it's just the way this close-knit community operates. "I think it's just a direct result of the fact that each and every day, when we put on a badge and a gun, we entrust our lives to each other."

Doctors are not saying much about Sgt. Childers' condition, only that it remains serious.

His family is grateful for all the support they're receiving, but they say what they'd like most of all, are prayers for his recovery.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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