'A career's worth of tragedy': Tempe first responders deal with toll of traumatic calls

In the last 48 hours, Tempe police and fire departments responded to three calls involving children.

All of the children in those cases died.

Those incidents included a double homicide involving a boy and girl, a drowning, and a 4-year-old child who shot himself while playing with a gun.

The departments say that these incidents hit close to home because most officers and fire personnel have their own kids.

After this weekend, Tempe authorities provided resources available for all the first responders involved. Some police and fire crews went on multiple calls.

"It was a very tragic weekend all the way around and the emotional impact is long felt and not something that goes away," said Steven Carbajal with Tempe Police. "You don't go to the next call and shake it off."

The Tempe Officer's Association says they were following up with officers, and many listened to first responders unload their grief, saying that this is something neither department can prepare for. Officials said there was crying and sobbing, as many first responders have children themselves.

"What we saw over the weekend…was almost a career's worth of tragedy in just a small amount of time for some of our newer officers that haven't experienced it quite yet," said Carbajal. "It's a blow, even to veteran officers…this uniform doesn't shield us from the emotional trauma that we take on when we go to these."

"We internalize those things, stress and worry over these things," Carbajal continued. "It’s real life, real people, and real families that we’re dealing with."

Officials said around 15 to 20 police officers and 30 firefighters responded to the calls. One firefighter was sent home for the day to recollect themselves.

"What people don't realize is once we're done with the call, we have to regroup, share with each other, reset and respond to the next emergency." said Andrea Glass with Tempe PD.

"We do check in on our folks, we do make sure they are okay to do the remainder of the shift…that's something to keep in mind when we do have tragic events like this," Glass said. "We are expected to run to the next call."

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