Aurora police officers did not have to stand alone on the night of July 20. As the first officers responded to 911 calls from the Century 16 movie …
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Aurora police officers did not have to stand alone on the night of July 20.
As the first officers responded to 911 calls from the Century 16 movie theater, they found a hellish situation — 12 people dead and 58 injured, an active shooter and the possibility of explosive devices.
The call went out over a metrowide radio system, asking for a variety of support from law-enforcement agencies across the Denver area.
The Westminster Police Department sent two K-9 units to the theater. The animals were used during the investigation, but following a gag order issued by the judge in the case against accused shooter James Eagan Holmes, officials are not releasing any details as to how or where the K-9 units were used.
Victim advocates from the department were also sent to help with the crisis and crisis communication.
“We commend the Aurora Police Department for their response and how they handled the incident,” said Trevor Materasso, an investigator with the Westminster Police Department public information officer. “We offered any support they needed that we could provide.”
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department also answered the call.
“We sent seven deputies, a lieutenant, two sergeants, some K-9s and some patrol officers, and they were there through the wee hours,” said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office pubic information officer Jacki Kelley. She said some of Jeffco’s victim’s advocates were sent later that morning to Gateway High School, where Arvada police officers interviewed witnesses to the shootings.
Kelley also cited the case’s gag order as a reason she could not elaborate on assigned duties at the scene.
“This is what we train for. Our department supports law enforcement across the state year-round. It’s always an honor to help another department,” she said.
The city of Golden responded with one officer and a bomb-sniffing dog, according to a police department source. Other assisting agencies included Arvada, Lakewood and Thornton, according to several sources.
Steve Davis, public information officer with the Lakewood Police Department, said that in addition to sending two victim advocates, Lakewood also had two agents who indirectly assisted in the case — one of whom was a member of a metro-area Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms task force that helped identify the guns used in the shooting, and their source. Public information officers from the Westminster Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office were also sent to the emergency operation center to help with media relations.
Materasso, investigator with the Westminster Police Department, said officers were ultimately assigned to aid most of the 12 families that had lost a family member. He said the officers served as a buffer between the families and the media.
Among the public-information officers who helped families were Kelley, another Jeffco officer and Materasso.
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