'I knew what this would feel like' Sheriff Bill Elder talks about dark days at the department

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Monday's shooting claimed the lives of two people and injured four others. Among the dead and injured were law enforcement officers.

Coping with a tragedy like this is difficult for the men and women who promise to serve and protect us all. On Wednesday, 11 News anchor Dianne Derby sat down with El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder to talk about what have been some of their darkest days.

Elder is getting ready to bury the third deputy lost to gunfire during his career. He was a lieutenant in 1990 when Lt. Cecilia Cipriani was killed, a patrol lieutenant in 1992 when Deputy Hugh Martin was killed.

And now sheriff as he prepares to bury Deputy Micah Flick, a man he says was the same age as his sons.

"I knew what this would feel like," Elder told Derby in a one-on-one interview. "I knew the emptiness."

But knowing that didn't ease the pain of telling families their loved one was gone or injured.

"The emotion of gripping a loved one while they get the initial news of the death of family member or the injury of another. And they go through and process that, and you get that taken care of, and then you move them on, and here comes another," Elder said.

"How did you handle that as the sheriff? Because that's endless," Derby inquired in the interview.

"It did. It went on for a couple of hours," Elder responded.

Elder says one of the most painful moments was escorting Flick's family to the hearse.

"This is the realization that he is not going to stand up and walk out," Elder somberly stated.

A situation like this is a reality his deputies face every day.

"I think the men and women in this job understand that this job may ask them to sacrifice their life," Elder said. "I don't know of a whole lot of other jobs outside of the military that will ask that of an employee."

That reality hits home not just for the men and women serving, but their families as well.

On Saturday, Elder will stand in front of Flick's family, his loved ones, and lead his agency in honoring and remembering the 34-year-old deputy, a man who gave his life doing a job he loved.

"I get one shot of making this right for him because this young man, who is the age of my kids, he deserves -- he deserves the hero sendoff that he is going to get," Elder remarked

Derby asked Elder if he thinks the city of Colorado Springs is safe. Elder responded saying yes, especially when compared to cities of a similar size. Elder goes on to say he wouldn't live here or raise a family here if it wasn't a safe place to live.

But Elder also mentioned it is getting more dangerous for his deputies.

He says part of the blame is on law enforcement for the way they have responded to scenes in other cities and part is on society for the lack of respect for the job that they do.