DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - It was quiet around the Denham Springs Police Department on Wednesday, as personnel mourn the death of Officer James Foster.
His on-the-job death was the first in the department's 100 years of existence. Foster hit a car that turned in front of him Monday and he was critically injured. A teary-eyed Police Chief Scott Jones described seeing his officer taken off life support.
"Hurry up," he said. "They didn't think he had brain activity."
Jones said that was the call he received Tuesday morning, one day after Foster, 39, was involved in an accident on his police motorcycle, while responding to a crash on I-12 near Denham Springs. Jones said the officer who witnessed the accident told him Foster never saw it happening.
"We had hope he was going to make it. We stayed as upbeat as we could," Jones added.
Jones said Foster had fractures in his legs, arms and trauma to his chest. Following the accident, he and some of the officers stayed at the hospital with Foster's family. They were there when the difficult decision was made.
"They left him on life support, so people could come in and pay last respects, which was us, police officers. That was hardest part, the finality of it," a crying Jones explained.
Foster just celebrated his fifth year with DSPD on December 14.
Despite how quiet the department was Wednesday, every once and a while, a chuckle broke the silence. The officers were encouraged to share stories of happier times.
One of those was the story about how Foster's wife gave him $100 for Christmas and Friday, while on a call, he gave that $100 to a mother who was struggling to feed her family.
"I never saw him sad, never saw him when he wasn't willing to help someone. He never said no," Jones said.
It is the picture of James Foster that officers want to remember. Not how he died, but how he chose to live.
Visitation for Foster will be held at Abundant Life Church in Denham Springs (206 Edgewood Drive) beginning on Friday from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and then on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., when a service will be held.
The burial will follow at Denham Springs Memorial Cemetery on North Range Avenue at Cockerham Road.