Newtown police officers were the very first responders on scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the shooting in December. Their job was to go in an and confront the gunman but had no idea that what they ended up finding inside would be with them for a lifetime.
Like Newtown, the response by law enforcement at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, was massive. In fact, they had to use the park next to Columbine as a staging area. Then the first officers on scene had to go inside - changing their lives forever.
Steve Davis was a sheriff's deputy in Colorado when the killings at Columbine took place.
"That responsibility (of telling everyone about the death toll) just fell on my shoulders because of the position I was in that day," he said.
Davis was also inside Columbine during the investigation and said he knows what a tough scene it was.
"I watched it (Sandy Hook coverage) and just feel so sorry for the community and the people who have to experience this," he said.
He also said he became physically sick when he learned what took place in Newtown.
When asked what the one thing he knows will be hard for the first responders at Sandy Hook, Davis said it would be the long-term effects.
"These people probably don't have a real good concept for how long this is going to affect them," he responded. "For years and years and years. I'm also betting there are people in that community that will never get past this."
For Davis, who has since left the sheriff's office but is still working in law enforcement and actually counsels communities dealing with tragedies, remembers what worked best for him and his fellow deputies.
"I can tell you the events that occurred (at Columbine) put a lot of mileage on a lot of people," Davis said. "The biggest reason is they were trying to deal with it, trying to be strong. But that feeling, let those emotions out. I can tell you personally I went home several nights and sat down and just cried over what happened here."
Davis also pointed out that even though police officers are trained in dealing with horrible and tragic situations, the shootings at Columbine and Sandy Hook are just too much for anyone to handle.
"The scene, the things that first responders have to deal with and have to see with their own eyes. I've been there," he said. "I can close my eyes right this very minute to see it just as clearly as I saw what I saw."
Davis said talking to people helps a lot, but it doesn't work all the time.
"There are times I don't want to talk to people about it," he said. "I think a very good lesson is keeping all that inside and harboring all that is one way to do a lot of damage."
As a result of what happened at Columbine, many of the police departments in Colorado now have peer support groups run by other law enforcement officers who have training in counseling.
"They walk in my shoes daily," Davis said. "They do the job I do and I find it easier to go to that person and say, 'you know this is really eating at the inside, eating me up and I need to sit down and let some of this out.'"
Davis said he remembers one challenge that no one really saw coming, and he believes it will happen in Newtown.
"One of the similarities that I see in Newtown and Columbine is that there is no one to look at and blame," he said. "There's no one to prosecute."
Davis' community saw a backlash because of that. He said he saw members of the community get angry at police, school officials and even each other.
While there were no major issues, he said it was something that caught many off guard. But the biggest focus for law enforcement, he said, has to be on the well being of those men and women who were changed by what they had to see.
"I would think the (Newtown) chief has a monumental task ahead of him just dealing with his own personnel, making sure their mental health and well being is looked at," Davis said.
Davis said he believes Newtown will be able get that help because, since Columbine, he said the mindset about counseling in law enforcement has changed.
"Our people are quicker to say 'you know what? I need to sit down and talk to somebody,'" Davis said. "'I need to get some of this out. I really need someone to listen to me for a while.'"
"From your experience," Goulston asked. "Will Newtown be OK?"
"Newtown will be okay," Davis said. "But Newtown will never be the same. This wound, this hurt, this impact to the community is not going away. It won't go away, but the people of Newtown will be okay someday."
Davis added that the anniversaries are difficult because, as time passes and you start to move on, the emotions rush back when there is any sort of tribute.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Monday, May 20 2013 5:12 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:12:47 GMT
Jermaine Richards was arrested in connection with the death of Alyssiah Wiley.
A Bridgeport man faces murder and kidnapping charges in the death of an Eastern Connecticut State University who disappeared in April. Thirty-year-old Jermaine Richards was scheduled to make his firstMore >
The search for a missing college student has turned into a search for justice after 30-year-old Jermaine Richards was arrested in connection with the death of Alyssiah Wiley.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 2:40 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:40:11 GMT
A lawmaker from Connecticut has pledged to live on less than $5 per day to better understand the food stamp budget. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy will live on $143.89 per month, which is $4.80 a day or $1.60More >
A U.S. Senator from Connecticut has pledged to live on less than $5 per day to better understand the food stamp budget.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 1:41 PM EDT2013-05-20 17:41:42 GMT
A Manchester man was arrested after he allegedly took psychedelic mushrooms and hit a woman at a home in Coventry early Monday morning. Officers were called to a home on Ripley Hill Road for an allegedMore >
A Manchester man was arrested after he allegedly took psychedelic mushrooms and hit a woman at a home in Coventry early Monday morning.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
By H. Gilbert Welch, Special to CNN updated 8:12 AM EDT, Fri May 17, 2013Editor's note: H. Gilbert Welch is a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical PracticeMore >
I first saw the headline early Tuesday on Real Clear Politics, a political news site where I generally start my morning. It's not where I expect to see a story on breast cancer.
Monday, May 20 2013 9:26 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:26:31 GMT
South Windsor police arrested a man after a brutal beating.Police said 48-year-old Gary Wright was arrested after being accused of assaulting a woman in a bowling alley parking lot.Police said the unidentifiedMore >
South Windsor police arrested a man after a brutal beating.More >
Monday, May 20 2013 5:19 PM EDT2013-05-20 21:19:22 GMT
The West Hartford Police Department is investigating a robbery at Solid Gold Monday afternoon. Few details are being released at this time, but police said the robbery occurred at the Kane Street locationMore >
The West Hartford Police Department is investigating a robbery at Solid Gold Monday afternoon.More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 8:37 PM EDT2013-05-20 00:37:33 GMT
The remains found in a wooded area in Trumbull on Friday have been identified as missing Eastern Connecticut State University student Alyssiah Wiley. Investigators said the discovery was made along QuarryMore >
State police have arrested 30-year-old Jermaine Richards, of Bridgeport, in connection with the death of missing Eastern Connecticut State University student Alyssiah WileyMore >
Monday, May 20 2013 8:29 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:29:28 GMT
By STEPHEN SINGERAssociated Press HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is warning commuters that a traffic mess awaits them in southwest Connecticut for as long as a week until service is restoredMore >
While Metro-North travelers experienced a messy, slow-going commute Monday, officials said service is expected return by the Wednesday morning commute after a train derailment that injured dozens of people.More >