Officers from around the state gather for fallen officers memorial in Meriden
MERIDEN, CT (WFSB) - Several hundred officers from across the state gathered in Meriden on Thursday for an annual law enforcement memorial service.
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association’s Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation planned the ceremony for 11 a.m. at the Connecticut Police Academy.
The foundation said the service honors all of the municipal police officers, state troopers, and federal agents who have died in the line of duty while serving the people of their respective communities.
The names of over 150 fallen officers were read aloud.
Flyovers, flags at half-staff, dress blues and honor guards were on display to recognize the officers, all of who have their own stories and sacrifice.
“Some were shot by armed criminals fleeing an act of violence perpetrated against the citizen’s officers are sworn to protect and serve. Some were hit by cars at traffic stops. In its own way, each of their sacrifices constitutes an act of valor,” said Chief Neil Dryfe, Connecticut Police Chiefs Association.
There was a special focus on the two officers from Bristol, Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy, who were killed in October.
Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould has attended several memorial ceremonies in his years of service, but this one holds closer to his heart.
“It’s so much more impactful. When you’re so closely connected to it, that’s when it becomes really emotionally charged for you,” said Chief Gould.
The emotion was easy to see on Philip Pessina’s face, the former Middletown deputy chief who is also Lt. Demonte’s cousin.
“I pinned him to become an officer, and he was my cousin. It’s a great loss for Bristol and the state,” Pessina said. “I know he’s smiling up there, and he’ll always be in all of our prayers. We have to respect our officers, we have to help them, love them and guide them.”
Chief Gould told Channel 3 the Bristol Police Department plans to build a monument in front of their department to honor both Lt. Demonte and Sgt. Hamzy.
The ceremony was also attended by representatives of local police departments, the Connecticut State Police, and federal agencies, as well as families of fallen heroes.
Gov. Ned Lamont participated in the ceremony.
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