Lt. Paul Vance Speaks Out After Newtown Shooting

(NECN/NBC News: Jo Link) - Just more than one month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, police investigating the tragedy are still going through every detail.

On Dec. 14, a gunman opened fire in the school, killing 20 children and six educators.

How are officers coping with their emotions during this difficult task?

For Lt. Paul Vance and hundreds of his fellow police investigators, the details of the Sandy Hook shooting have been their main task every single day for more than a month.

"We don't want to say that our people aren't human,” Vance said. “They certainly are. And this -- this affects them greatly. But again, we try to work through it. We try and forge ahead."

He told NBC Connecticut that he and his colleagues have seen every inch of this tragedy from all angles. They're coping with their intense emotions by staying focused on the task at hand.
"Our healing process in the Connecticut State Police is to answer every single question and to get this work done,” Vance said. “That's our goal right now."

In a meeting with the victims' families in Newtown, Conn., on Tuesday night, Vance said families and police continued to feel an enduring pain.

"[I’m] characterizing it as still very difficult for everybody,” Vance said. “I think that's the best way to really look at this.”

The recent spate of theories that the shooting could have been a "hoax" have not helped, either.

"It's nonsense,” Vance said. “It's simply nonsense. It's inappropriate. It's something that the families and the parents and the relatives should not have to endure."

As the community continues to grieve, first responders have found one heartwarming way to handle their deep connection to what happened..

"We want to do everything we can to lessen that hurt as we possibly can,” Vance said. “The troopers that were assigned to each family have, in most cases, stayed in touch with the families and still have that link. The people in Newtown are supporting them.

“It's a very unique situation and very difficult for everybody."

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