Police agencies step up to help Bristol police as department grieves

Other police departments have stepped up to assist the Bristol Police Department in the wake of a shooting that claimed the lives of two officers.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 12:34 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 7:08 AM EDT
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BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) - Law enforcement agencies from around Connecticut stepped up to help the Bristol Police Department in the wake of last week’s deadly ambush on officers.

Connecticut State Police cruisers became a common sight at the Bristol Police Department as troopers went in to give some Bristol officers a break.

“We know they’re mourning and grieving the loss of their own, to support them and allow them that time to grieve is important to us,” said Sgt. Christine Jeltema, Connecticut State Police.

They did that by helping with patrols and other duties.

Peer support officers also came in to help. They were described as officers from agencies statewide who were trained to help manage stress and trauma.

They were made available 24/7 and have been on-hand for several days.

The support was meant for everyone involved in policing.

“I know there’s dispatchers that are utilized throughout the whole state, different departments, that are here to help the Bristol Police Department in their grieving process,” Jeltema said.

Louise Pyers, the founder and COO of the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement, spoke to Channel 3 about her organization’s support.

Pyers said her non-profit helps police officers get a better handle on mental health, not only in their work, but in themselves.

She said support services are critical for officers.

“In the absence of that, what often happens sometimes, is officers carry this weight on their shoulders throughout their careers. Some of them get sick, some of them die by suicide,” Pyers said.

While there has been a stigma, Pyers said it has been waning in recent years with more officers looking for mental health care.

“It could be for a family thing, it could be for anything, but yet they are reaching out. There’s much less of a stigma now than 10 years ago,” Pyers said.

In terms of how long the support services would be available for Bristol Police, state police made it clear that they would be there as long as they needed it.

More peer support officers were slated to arrive at the Bristol Police Department on Monday.

Connecticut State Police cruisers have become a common sight at the Bristol Police Department as state troopers come in to give some of Bristol police a break.