Last Friday, December 4th, UCCS Officer Garrett Swasey was laid to rest at Evergreen Cemetery, with hundreds of Colorado Springs citizens, community members, and uniformed officers in attendance through the five mile processional. Officer Swasey was one of the first on the scene during the unspeakable events that took place at Planned Parenthood on November 28th and was killed in the line of duty. The shooter, who will not be named here, also killed two civilians.

But, as appalling as the results were, the outcome would have almost assuredly proven much worse if it wasn’t for the timely, far-reaching, and outright heroic actions of the Colorado Springs Police Department and Emergency Responders. As soon as gunshots first rang out at an officer near the area, the CSPD sprung to action. Officers arrived swiftly to protect innocent bystanders and apprehend the suspect, returning fire. As the event escalated, officers began rescuing and escorting individuals nearby and in lockdown at a local King Soopers, taking them to shelter and protecting them from harm. Police and Emergency Responders also closed roadways in the area, set-up several shelter-in-place alerts, and kept anyone else from entering the scene as officers attempted and eventually succeeded in detaining the suspect. Ambulances came in droves, ready to take injured citizens to get the aid they needed. As of this writing, all those injured at the time of the shooting have either been released from the hospital or are listed in good condition.

While it is difficult to comprehend such violent acts, especially those that catch the attention of an entire nation, and while such deeds are sure to spark heated debates that seem to go nowhere, there is one thing we can all agree on: the Colorado Springs Police Department and Emergency First Responders saved lives that blackest of Black Fridays, and we are all indebted to their services, especially those of Officer Garrett Swasey, who gave his life protecting ours. The police and the Emergency Responders put so much on the line and ask for such little in return. We need to change this mindset. So the next time you see an officer, or an Emergency Response team member, even if they’re pull you over for speeding, thank them for everything they do.