First responders coping in the aftermath of school shooting - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

First responders coping in the aftermath of school shooting

NEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) -

Before Friday's deadly massacre at a Newtown elementary school, crime was fairly rare in the town of less than 30,000 people.

The last time the Newtown Police Department was on a big case was back in the 1980s.

Now, first responders are trying to deal with the images they saw on that Friday morning when 20 children lost their lives along with six adults.

Hundreds of people stood as dozens of first responders who helped with Friday's school massacre entered an interfaith vigil over the weekend where the president and other religious leaders spoke.

It was an emotional moment for the men and women who helped after the deadly shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

First responders hugged and touched their colleagues and it's a consoling moment many needed.

"Twenty-five years ago when I got into this profession, it was a sign of weakness to display any type of emotion or to be hardened to that," said Branford Police Capt. Geoffrey Morgan.

When crews get sent to help with a crisis, Morgan said it's what happens after that has changed.

"I don't think it's unusual now for our officers to go to a critical incident and be given the opportunity to speak with a trained professional afterwards," he said.

Because Morgan said they know what they need to do during these critical moments.

"We train for it and it starts to unfold and this like anything else will be dissected and managers will come away with lessons learned"

Now people from all over the country are showing their gratitude for our responders.

Here's just one example: Newtown firefighters got a shipment of Christmas wreaths donated from a farm in Portland, OR.

It was brought to the fire house, which was the gathering place for parents waiting to hear about their children.

There were 26 boxes marked "happy holidays" with one for each of the victims who died.

Firefighters took it upon themselves to tie the wreaths on a guard rail near an overpass in town.

"Connecticut has shined in the nation's eyes by the way that Newtown (police), state police, fire, EMS and organizations have responded to this incident," Morgan said.

Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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