It's been one year since two Americus law enforcement officers were shot and killed in the line of duty.
"It's been a very difficult year," says Americus Police Chief Mark Scott. "It doesn't get any easier having to deal with it."
On the morning of December 7, 2016, Americus Police Officer Nicholas Smarr was dispatched to a domestic violence call on South Lee Street.
His friend, Georgia Southwestern State campus police officer Jody Smith, came as backup.
When the two officers arrived, 32-year old Minquell Lembrick ran away, and Smarr and Smith chased after him. That's when Lembrick shot and killed them.
"Nick and Jody were both so young, and the fact that they were best friends and all their history together made it really hard," says Scott.
For 12 months, Scott has been dealing with his own grief, helping counsel his other officers through the hard time.
"Grief never goes away, the pain never goes away. You just have to learn to deal with it and make sure that we honor their memories with everything that they do going forward," says Scott.
Scott says over the last year the support from the community hasn't ceased.
"We still get cards and letters, even after a year, from people just wanting us to know they're thinking about us," says Scott.
Ribbons, memorials, and signs can all still be found across town.
"We've all been struggling with grief, but yet we still have a job to do," says Scott.
It's a job that's just a little more difficult without their brothers in blue.
A Community Blood Drive in honor of Officers Smith and Smarr will be held on December 15th at First Baptist Church in Americus.
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