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Police rally for officer's Haiti family

ALBANY -- The recent earthquake in Haiti killed thousands and left the entire country devastated. An Albany Police Department officer felt the pain deeply because he has family there.

To date, Jean Casseus knows he has lost two nephews and a niece, APD spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said. Casseus, 40, has been able to speak with only two of about 20 in his extended family living in the former French colony, she added.

In Albany, Casseus' professional family rallied around their comrade to hold a breakfast fundraiser from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. today at the Law Enforcement Center, 201 West Oglethorpe Blvd., an e-mail stated.

The breakfast, which is available to the public at a cost of $5, features eggs, sausage, grits and toast.

"Casseus won't be able to attend because he is part of the gang unit," Banks said. "He is one of those officers who is not allowed to be photographed or interviewed. His job demands that he remain anonymous."

Casseus, an immigrant from France, replied via e-mail -- through Banks -- to a question from The Herald. He said he heard about the earthquake while he was on duty. His mother, overcome with tears and hysteria, called him from Florida to tell him Haiti had been destroyed.