By Cory Cutting

I think that we will find that many people have a connection in some way to the tragedy in Aurora.  Some will know some of the victims, or will know people who know people.  Colorado is large, but small.  I live about 1 mile from the theatre and about 3/4 of a mile from the suspect's apartment.  But I am also connected in a way that makes me stop in my tracks and ponder all that has happened.

Listeners might not know some little trivia bits about me.  First, my full time career is in law enforcement.   I am not from Colorado originally, and when I moved here, the natural course of establishing friends took me toward others in law enforcement.  I have the honor of calling many of the fine men and women of  Denver Metro Area law enforcement agencies good friends of mine.

I am very good friends with Aurora Police officers that were there that night.  Responding to a "Man with a gun" and "shots fired" calls are some of the craziest things you can attempt to prepare for as you scream in your police car to the scene-- lights and sirens blaring-- adrenaline flowing like water in a river.  Will the shooter still be there?  Will there be wounded people?  How do I want to approach?  What if I come upon the suspect?

I know these are the thoughts.  I've done this myself.  I've never responded to a call that ended up like this- thank God.  But I also have good friends-including my current boss-that were at Columbine.  I've heard the stories; seen the sadness, shock and memories on the faces of people I respect.  And I will see it all again.

In my career, I have worked on the streets as an officer, in corrections, and I currently am a dispatch supervisor for a Federal agency.  Having spent about 12 years of my law enforcement career as a dispatcher, listening to the radio calls turns my stomach and brings tears to my eyes.  The dispatchers are the ones behind the scenes making it happen for the officers on the scene.  They are the calm voice that keeps some normalcy for an officer during an event such as this.  May they take comfort in knowing that their professionalism and dedication made a world of difference as events unfolded.  I am humbled.

So I write this post today as a tribute to my friends and fellow officers/dispatchers.  I hope that you find peace as you deal with all you have been through.  You are all heroes, and many many people literally owe you their lives.  Thank you for being the brave ones that face what we all fear.  I am grateful to have you in my life.