I would like to thank all of the Brothers and Sisters throughout the country that have sent their thoughts and prayers to the Connecticut FOP members and our Brothers and Sisters in the Newtown Connecticut Police Department in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. A special thank you to the Grand Lodge President Canterbury for sending members of the FOP Critical Incident team to assist with counseling in the hours following the shooting. The Grand Lodge has pledged to donate $1000 to help some of the defray the costs incurred by the Connecticut State Lodge in responding to this tragedy.
Newtown Police Department is a small suburban agency with approximately forty-seven officers. Nearly every single officer was involved in the Sandy Hook incident and it has left the members of that department with scars that will never go away. As of a few days ago, seventeen officers had not returned to work since the massacre. The incident was much worse than the media portrayed, however, I am not at liberty to provide additional information regarding the crime.
As the Sandy Hook shooting was unfolding, the Newtown Police Department reached out for assistance from neighboring police agencies and the State Police. Connecticut is a unique place to police having 103 local law enforcement agencies and State Police. We have no county law enforcement as commonly seen in other parts of the country. In response to this call for assistance, Officers from all over Connecticut responded. Over 700 police officers responded to the town of Newtown in the wake of the tragedy. These officers provided police services both at the crime scene and elsewhere in Newton for the days and weeks following the shooting. Some of the officers did so by volunteering their time while others were being paid by their departments.
The Connecticut State Lodge has been in contact with the leaders of Newtown PD since the incident. Newtown is not represented by the F.O.P. but they are no less part of our law enforcement family here in Connecticut. We have offered our support in any way we can. Newtown Police has reached out to the Connecticut FOP asking for assistance in thanking all of the officers from throughout the state that responded to their town. The CT State Lodge has designed a challenge coin memorializing the tragedy and the artwork and design has been approved by the Newtown Police Department. They have asked for financial support to produce the coins. They plan to give each and every officer involved one of the coins as a thank you and in remembrance of those who lost their lives on that sunny December day.
We have pledged our support but do not have the financial resources to fund the project completely. Connecticut State Lodge President Russell Wininger and I are asking for any financial assistance in order to raise the nearly $8000 projected to fund the production of the challenge coins. These coins are not going to be sold or used as a fundraiser. They are merely a thank you gift to the men and women of Connecticut’s law enforcement community who have helped during this tragedy. Donations can be sent to the Connecticut State Lodge at 1 Grove Place, New Britain, CT 06053. All proceeds will be used exclusively for the Newtown Police Department. Any money in excess of the coin costs will be donated to which ever appropriate Sandy Hook School shooting charity as directed by the Newtown Police Department.
Thank you again for all of the help you have given. It is in times like this that Fraternal Order of Police stands out as the greatest Law Enforcement organization in the world.
Connecticut National Trustee