A Thought About Helping NewtownPosted: December 15, 2012
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.
My colleagues and I tend to minimize what we do. We’ve all got our assigned specialties or things we do because we’re good at them. To say we do them routinely is a disservice to those acts. Perhaps the best way to say it is that we do them well without thinking about what it looks like to our peers and the public.
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”.
It strikes me that 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 those jobs.
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
Southbury, CT 06488
11 p.m. update – the links seem to be working. There are multiple fire and ambulance units that you can reach out to there.
12:45 update – whatever you all are doing is working. This post is getting easily triple the average traffic my whole blog gets on an entire December Sunday. Thank you to all who have posted on Facebook, that seems to be getting the word out! Bloggers, if I have a link back to your repost I will be posting links to your home pages later today once I’m off duty. Thanks so much for caring.
Also, I feel awful because I left out the folks who look after police, fire fighters and paramedics every day – our telecommunicators. They take your calls, get the help you need to you and protect your protectors. I know that I owe my life to a few of them. You should know that they’re struggling with this as much as the on scene staff and often get less closure than we do.
One more thing. I am returning to writing silliness tomorrow, but I’m not forgetting what we’ve taken on here. Hope you won’t either.