Many stories of Sandy Hook Elementary School heroes have emerged since that fateful Friday in Newtown, Connecticut when the second most deadly school shooting in history occurred. A teacher who threw herself into gunfire to save children, fast-thinking office staff who turned on the intercom system to alert the entire school, some of the little children themselves who helped save their friends; even one brave little guy who said, “I know karate, so it’s OK; I’ll lead the way out.”
And then there were the first-responders. At 9:36 AM, police radios crackled with the first words of the shooting. [Source: New York Post]
“Sandy Hook School. Caller is indicating she thinks there’s someone shooting in the building,” a Newtown dispatcher radioed.
Less than a minute later, they heard:
“Units responding to the Sandy Hook School. The front glass has been broken in front of the school They are unsure why …”
At 9:38, the dispatcher radioed:
“The shooting appears to have stopped. There is silence at this time. The school is in lockdown.”
And then this at 9:46. An officer who could not hide his emotions as he spoke words he will never forget:
“I’ve got bodies here. Need ambulances.”
The officers involved with handling this massacre and its aftermath will likely never experience a horror of this magnitude again in their careers. The entire world recognizes their heroism and courage, and most of us have grasped for some way to help. Newtown police officers have been working virtually nonstop since the December 14th massacre that claimed the lives of 20 children and six faculty members.
But one group of people can feel their pain more than the rest of us can: other police officers. As reported by CNN, fellow law enforcement officials in neighboring communities have stepped up to work during the holiday to give Newtown police officers Christmas Day off.
It was supposed to be a surprise because the officers wanted to ensure it was an act of goodwill, not a news story; but murmuring on Twitter caused the information to leak and the Newtown Police Department confirmed the story in an Atlantic Wire interview.
“Patrol officers and sworn personnel will be given the day off to be home on Christmas. Officers from surrounding towns will be patrolling Newtown,” police Sgt. Steve Santucci of Newtown told CNN.
As explained by Lt. Bob Kozlowsky of the Shelton, Connecticut, police department:
“When something like this happens … it’s a police thing. We’ll always try to help out neighboring towns. Any time there’s a tragedy, we’ll try our best to lend a helping hand. We’ve sent officers, dispatchers, and even our chief of police has gone to Newtown to help out. We’ve helped with dispatching, traffic, miscellaneous calls. Our chief of police has gone to assist their chief of police with administrative duties.”
Many of the volunteers will be donating their holiday and overtime pay to Newtown and Sandy Hill charities, and others have volunteered without pay.
Monroe, Brookfield, Danbury, Bethel and Milford are among the towns whose police officers have been assisting Newtown police in the wake of the tragedy, and they’ve stepped up again today to give the most precious gift they could give: time for Newtown first-responders to spend with their own families, as they attempt to recover from the shock of being reminded, once again, how precious life is.