On December 15th, my blogging friend, Oma, wrote a moving post about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. As a police officer, Oma relates to the first responders with first hand experience. What follows are his words. Please take a moment and read his thoughts. I hope you’ll reach out to the first responders in Newtown, too. One week, two weeks, even months later, they need our support. They never forget.
Those of you who’ve been coming here for a while know that I’ve been a police officer for, well, a really long time.
As an example, I have a particular specialized assignment. It suits me. Other officers ask me how I do it, how I put up with some aspects of that assignment and finish the conversations with “I couldn’t do what you do”.
The thing is, the person who is saying those things to me might be a detective who investigates fatal traffic accidents, or a vice officer who deals with unspeakably bad folks, or someone who runs 911 calls all day every day and never sees anyone who is having a good day. They all look at what I do and say “I couldn’t do what you do”. The funny thing is, I say the same thing back to them. I don’t know how my friends investigate child sex abuse cases. I’ll work drug cases, but I don’t like them. I’ve handled traffic fatalities, but how someone does so over and over is beyond me.
There are two things that we all agree on when we bump into one another in the hall. One is that we all have great jobs that are sadly necessary. The other is that there is always someone else who has it worse.
My brothers and sisters in the Newtown Police Department, the Connecticut State Police and the other agencies who are assisting them following the school shootings had it worse yesterday. I watched the news and could only imagine the things they were seeing, the emotions they were feeling and the awful work they were doing because someone had to. I am proud of them, I hope you are too.
I hope you are because they were there all night, and will be all day today and into next week. And next month, when this is off our radar, they will still be dealing with it.
They’ll deal with the work and they’ll act like it isn’t a big deal. Kids and grandkids will get silent hugs that are inexplicably strong, then the hugger will walk away and act like nothing’s wrong. Something will be wrong.
When I first started working, when “something was wrong” the expectation was that who ever had the problem would fix it. Not fixing it, or struggling to fix it was a sign of weakness. Things have changed and there are programs in place in most agencies to assist officers in dealing with the emotional stress of the job. I was happy to hear it said that all who were on the scene of the school shooting would be mandated to attend counseling.
I’d like to ask you to do something to help them fix what’s wrong. This isn’t in place of the things many of you are doing, like writing the school or making donations to those who will be helping Newtown families. I’m adding to your to do list. Take a moment and write a note to the Newtown Police Department or the Connecticut State Police.
Do you know who else needs to hear from you? The firefighters and paramedics, because seriously, I couldn’t do that.
I’ll tell you from experience that whatever you send will eventually drift down to the people who need to see them. They’ll sit in an office or a roll call room. Officer, paramedics and fire fighters will look them over in a quiet moment. Later, they’ll think of what they read and your thoughts will make that “something that is wrong” just a little better.
You’ll know what to write. The people who need to see it, will see it. It will help.
Here is where to find the addresses of the…
Spread the word. Let’s help them all.
I’m updating with the addresses as quickly as I can since the links seem to be swamped and not responding. Bear with me.
Newtown Police Dept
3 Main St
Newtown, CT 06470
Newtown Ambulance Service
75 Main St
Newtown, CT 06470
Connecticut State Police
90 Lakeside Rd
Southbury, CT 06488
Sandy Hook Vol. Fire and Rescue
18-20 Riverside Rd/Po Box 783
Sandy Hook, CT 06482