It’s been a rough week for the Newtown Police Department.
They’ve seen things no one in this country ever has before. In just 7 days they handled 27 murders and a suicide; an inundation of international media, good-hearted helpers and less-welcome curiosity-seekers; nearly 2 dozen funerals, and a visit from the President of the United States.
Fortunately, they did not have to do it alone. The State Police, and a host of federal agencies, have been fantastic.
So too has been the outpouring of support from police departments across Connecticut.
The men and women in Westport blue downplay it, but a number of local officers are volunteering their free time to assist colleagues and friends a few miles north.
They’ve handled countless small tasks in the police station, at schools, during funerals. They’ve eased the incredible burden on the small Newtown force.
They’ve had a front-row view of the devastation one person with a gun can wreak on one town. They’ve seen the horror etched on the faces of everyone who was there last Friday — parents, kids, fellow officers.
But they’ve also seen hundreds of people silently drop off food, toys and cash — then sit in their cars, sobbing. They’ve seen the therapy dogs, the heartfelt hugs, the candles and flowers and teddy bears.
The Westport officers — and their colleagues from many other departments, in big cities and tiny towns — don’t want thanks. They’re not looking for praise. In fact, they will probably be embarrassed to see this story.
They spend their free time in Newtown because their fellow officers need help. They are there because families are suffering, people need them, and there is work to be done.
They volunteer their talents and expertise, their hands and their heads and their hearts and their souls, because they are police officers.
Because they protect and serve.
Dan, I was at the vigil on Sunday in Westport where First Selectman Joseloff asked us not to send individual donations to Newtown but rather we as a town would do something together. It seemed like a great idea but I have yet to hear anything about it. I figured if anyone knew it would be you! Thanks for helping to get all of us in Westport through the latest disaster. You have become my go to for the latest info that can’t be heard anywhere else! You got us through Sandy and now I can’t tell you what your posts do for me. All your posts help me feel a little more connected at a very sad and isolating time. You should consider yourself a first responder!!!
Thanks, Bobbi. We all do what we can. Whether it’s police officers donating their time, the Staples guidance staff volunteering at the crisis center or Staples culinary classes baking 1200 cookies to bring to Newtown cops and for receptions after funeral services, Westporters are finding ways to help. If I hear anything about a townwide effort, I’ll let everyone know. The next many months — after the media leaves, and Newtown is left alone in its grief — will offer many opportunities to be there for our friends and neighbors.
It’s unspeakable moments like this that citizens realize what the power of community and the warmth of one (or many) heart(s) can truly make a difference. Those that serve in any uniform have men and women in arms that need support just as they support “protect and serve” us every day. Thank you Dan for bringing their acts of kindness and community to the fore front. Although they may be embarrassed by this posting they have supporters around this community praising them and thanking God for all they do! In an unbelievable circumstance like this its also evident how we as outsiders just want to do anything we can, big or small in a way wrapping our arms around the community of Newtown especially those directly effected. I for one am still in shock with the one week anniversary just tomorrow. God Speed!
I know a very generous man in town used to donate the funds to the Westport PBA to have meals for the officers and staff working Christmas Eve and day. I am sure it would be a very nice way to show our support.
I don’t know if you have ever heard of family constellations, but I attended a group last night, Wednesday, in Wallingford. It is a form of energy work, and I have been involved in family constellations since 2003. Our facilitators give us a pretty rare opportunity to do this once a month. We did two constellations which were presented by a couple of people, and then we decided to do one about Newtown. One person represented all the adults who had died, which was me. Another represented the children who died. Another represented the town (survivors). Another represented the first responders. One represented the shooter. Another represented all the caregivers. And finally one person represented us as a group. It was an extremely emotional constellation. The most poignant aspect we discovered is the first responders need help first, and then the town, the survivors. The person representing the first responders cried uncontrollably for quite a long time, but eventually was able to stop with help from the adults who died, the children who died, the town, the caregivers, and the facilitators. So thank you, Dan, for your post. It aligned with what we experienced last night.