Bristol officials discuss city’s healing process, make plea for more officers
BRISTOL, CT (WFSB) – Bristol police and the city’s mayor held a news conference to address how the community will move forward after the murders of two police officers.
They also made a plea for more officers.
Wednesday marked two weeks since Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy were ambushed when, according to police, they responded to a fake domestic violence call.
When the officers arrived, they were shot and killed. Officer Alec Iurato, who also responded, was wounded.
Police Chief Brian Gould and Mayor Jeff Caggiano spoke at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
“All three of those officers, incredibly just wonderful human beings,” said Bristol Chief Brian Gould. “No doubt that is contagious, incredibly brave as well. Think those actions have put out a call to action.”
Gould said the department has had to reallocate officers from support roles to patrol. He said they were already down officers, like other departments.
However, he said he has been approached by people who want to join the force.
Channel 3 asked Caggiano at the officers’ funeral last week how the community will move on after the tragic events. He said he had to think about it and that it would be tough.
He’s expected to address the next steps in the healing process.
As the community moves forward, more fundraising efforts for the families continue.
The mayor believes it’ll hit a million in no time.
A local organization called Lights on Rosewood has been among those collecting donations.
As of Wednesday morning, more than $17,000 was raised to go to the three families impacted by the shooting.
There will also be hoodies on sale online. That money will go to the families as well.
“They sacrificed their lives for us the least we can do is remember them to always keep their family close to our hearts,” said Ann Marie Fippinger, a Bristol resident.
“We are doing as much as we can to keep their names alive, keep it out there and keep [the] Bristol community tight, and this little town is getting tighter each day,” said Rob Osenkowski, Lights On Rosewood.
Both the mayor and police chief said they’ve seen so much support coming in, from their neighbors and beyond.
It’s made the last two weeks a little more bearable.
“We can’t do this alone and we’re seeing that we’re not alone,” said Police Chief Brian Gould.
Together, Gould and Mayor Jeff Caggiano thanked the community for everything since the deaths of Lieutenant Dustin DeMonte and Sergeant Alex Hamzy.
Now the police department is trying to come back full force.
Gould said he’s trying to hire up to 20 officers. He said this tragedy has emboldened people to come forward.
“Whether it be through writings or personal conversations from people who are saying, I’ve always wanted to do this job, just never committed to it. And this has changed my direction and you’ll be seeing my application,” Gould said.
Caggiano said the community’s support has been overwhelming from the start.
The biggest showing of that, aside from the fundraisers, is the memorial outside the police department.
Caggiano said it won’t be there forever, but something will. Those plans are still in the works.
“We’re in the middle of a downtown revitalization and all of that streetscape needs to get done. We’ll have benches that are made from some of this stuff, we will hopefully take some of the flowers and put it into the streetscape. So we’re trying to be thoughtful about that,” said Caggiano.
Many continue to drop by the memorial and pay their respects.
Louise Ritter and Leo Lafontaine visited today from the Naugatuck Valley.
“We saw the whole funeral on TV, my husband and I, it was just heartbreaking,” said Louise.
They’re both happy to hear something permanent is coming.
“I think that would be a very good idea,” said Leo, of Thomaston. “This is something and it shows our appreciation and I think it’s fantastic.”
As far as who decides what this permanent memorial will look like, Caggiano said there will be a subcommittee made up of people from the police commission and other city departments to help decide.
They will also take community suggestions.
There will be a special meeting next week to get the subcommittee formed.
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