I was working a slow sector that night, so I had the Las Vegas Metro feed up and listened to it from very early on all the way until I was signing off my CAD for the night at 0600, when they were starting to talk about relieving the units that had long passed their off-duty time by many many hours in Vegas. After they had spent the night running towards the gunfire. Using their own bodies to shield helpless citizens. Dragging near lifeless bodies in the back of their patrol cars to get them to hospitals. Kicking down a hotel room door that they new had pure evil behind it with no second thought.
The “fresh” officers who were going to take their post, also referred to as their “relief,” provided not only physical relief, but allowed them to finally go home and let get some semblance of their own emotional relief. That’s something that they didn’t get immediately afterwards, nor did they get it in the days that followed. This is something that none of them will ever completely get over. Will it get easier? Sure. There may even be days in the future that they don’t think of this tragedy. But it will always be with them.
And also with the dispatchers. Listening to their feed was incredible. The fear and anguish in the voices of the officers and command on scene was almost too much to bear, but those dispatchers held an even, consistent tone, and didn’t even waver in the slightest, despite hearing and repeating such horrific radio traffic. We’re taught to do that in any kind of priority traffic, but doing so in a tragedy of that magnitude is admirable. It is not an easy thing to do. Have you ever been talking to someone (just in conversation) that raises their volume? Unconsciously, when you reply, you’ll raise your volume. Then they reply, and before you both know it, you’re screaming at each over, whether it’s a heated discussion or not. Now imagine applying that to an officer-dispatcher conversation. It’s not as easy as you’d think to hold an even, but still compassionate tone. And they did so for HOURS. I know none of us do this job for the glory or the accolades, but they deserve every bit of affirmation and award that is out there. I also hope that Metro provides them with after-care like they probably will to the sworn side.
There’s never a “right” thing to say after a tragedy. There’s definitely WRONG things to say, but there is no right words in such unrighteousness.
So I’ll round this out with one of my last tweets of that night: be good and kind to each other, near and far.