MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service was held Thursday in Meriden. It’s an opportunity to pay respect to those who lost their lives serving communities in Connecticut.
“For every fallen law enforcement officer represented at this beautiful memorial, there are thousands of fellow officers in dozens of police departments and law enforcement agencies across the state who willingly step in when an officer falls,” said Cheshire Police Chief Neil Dryfe, the president of Connecticut Police Chiefs’ Association.
The memorial service was hosted at the Connecticut Police Academy. The service honors municipal police officers, state troopers, and federal agents that died in the line of duty.
“Every day, when you get that call, you don’t know what’s behind the next door,” said Gov. Ned Lamont. “Talk about valor and being there for public safety.
During the service, 150 fallen officers were remembered with their loved ones and fellow officers in attendance.
“They weren’t afraid to love their community,” said Leonard C. Boyle, retired United States Attorney. “They weren’t afraid to love their fellow citizens. They weren’t afraid to love the ideals we hold so dear: justice, kindness, and mercy.”
Two names were added to the memorial this year: Bristol Police Lt. Dustin DeMonte and Sgt. Alex Hamzy. They were ambushed and killed while responding to a call last October.
“Dustin and Alex, we miss them tremendously, so it’s an emotional rollercoaster,” Bristol Police Chief Brian Gould said.
The community and their family feel their immeasurable loss.
“They had a gem; they had a gem,” said Philip Pessina, DeMonte’s cousin. “He was a diamond in the rough, but that community polished him. The sky was the limit for this kid.”
Whether it’s been months, years, or decades, these officers remain in the hearts and minds of this law enforcement community.
“It’s so true when they say you never forget,” said John Fenton, whose father, Hartford police Officer Francis X. Fenton, was shot and killed in 1969. “They never do.”
The memorial is open to the public, and all are encouraged to stop by and pay their respects to the fallen.