As many as 10,000 people are expected to attend a public memorial service today for Sean Collier, the 26-year-old MIT campus officer officials said died at the hands of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Among the thousands will be state troopers from Connecticut and officers from the Middletown, Waterford and Meriden police departments, as well as others.
They boarded a bus with heavy hearts this morning.
"It's always important to show your support when another officer is slain,” Lt. Michael J. Thomas, the commanding officer for State Police Troop E, said on Wednesday morning. "No matter anywhere in New England, New York, NJ wherever it is and if we can get a group of guys to go up there to pay our respects, that's what we're going to do as a law enforcement community."
"No police officer ever wants to hear about a brother officer being slained," he said. "No matter, anywhere in New England, New York, New Jersey, wherever it is, and if we can get a group of guys to go up there to pay our respects, that's what we're going to do as a law-enforcement community."
Detective Lt. Mark Walrysiak, of the Meriden Police Department, said Collier's death affects officers tremendously.
"Because of the significance of the case and the details involved with how he died, we definitely wanted to give a presence from our department," he said. "Twenty-six years old and that's just heart-wrenching for the family and how it affects them, it affects us. ... It could be any one of us, any day, any night, but unfortunately it was him."
Lt. Thomas said police know that there's a potential for something dangerous to happen each day they go to work.
"And every day, we want to come home safe. We want to protect the public, but we also want to get home to our families," he said.
Collier’s family spoke with the Today Show this week and said he was a kind man, dedicated police officer who was humble and donated to the Jimmy Fund through his life, even when he had little money.
The Collier family is asking that donations in Collier’s memory be made to the Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place West, FL6, Brookline, Massachusetts 02445-9924.