As the nation reels from the tragic shooting of law enforcement officers in Dallas, what happened in Texas is hitting close to home for police officers in Connecticut.
“It’s a real shock. It just brings it all back to reality,” Trooper Kelly Grant, of Connecticut State Police, said.
Police said the shootings serve as a reminder to local officers of the importance of the work they do and the dangers they face every day as they head out on the job.
“You’re always going to be on edge when something like this happens, whether it’s a police-involved shooting, or police officers are shot and killed,” she said.
In response to the shooting in Dallas, leaders of the Hartford Police Department said they are asking officers to be safe, cognizant and aware, but not to operate in feat.
“We’re not going to let any single incident define our role as police officers or affect our relationship with our community. It’s something that we cherish and that we value,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said.
He said the department might make some changes to make police feel safer, but they don’t plan to change the way they interact with the public.
“We’re not going to let any single incident define our role as police officers or affect our relationship with our community. It’s something that we cherish and that we value,” he said.
Leaders of the State Police Training Academy said training is essential to avoiding and responding to events like the officer-involved shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota and the attack on police in Dallas.
“One of the things we emphasize is to remain calm at all times,” Lt. Robert Palmer, commanding officer of the Connecticut State Police Training Academy, said. “There’re so many variables to the situations that we encounter out there that there’s no cookie-cutter solution to how to interact with the public, especially when there’s a firearm involved.”
Recruits at the academy receive around 115 hours of firearms training, including lessons on active shooters, de-escalation and understanding implicit biases, in the hopes of avoiding danger and tragedy.
While local law enforcement officers are heartbroken about what’s happened in Dallas, they said the bravery fellow members of law enforcement showed in the face of mortal danger is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
“It’s very likely they didn’t know who was being shot at in the early moments of that incident, but without any regard for their safety, they went and tried to protect as many protesters as they could within the short timeframe of that incident,” Palmer said.
Commissioner Dora B. Schriro, of the Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection, said that though this is a country with many states and cities, we are one community and the community has suffered too many losses.
"Citizens marching in peaceful protest and Law Enforcement’s ensuring their right to do so were shot last night," Schriro said in a statement. "As was the case in Dallas, where police officers ran towards the threat in order to protect the public, in Connecticut State Troopers and the state's many police departments are on the frontline to keep our towns safe. Our work can be difficult and dangerous, but is always important and immensely satisfying. The CSP is proud of its service and that of its partners in law enforcement—we are steadfast in our commitment to the people of Connecticut. We pray for the safety of law enforcement and their communities around the country.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy said Connecticut is proud of local law enforcement.
"We in Connecticut are proud of our law enforcement. Our officers and troopers are standing up to protect our residents every hour, of every day. And every day, either at the state or local levels, we are making strides. We are working to build trust in our communities, and we are looking at these heartbreaking incidents around the country and trying to learn from them. We're doing that so that we can improve ourselves, and so we can prevent these incidents from happening here at home," Malloy said in a statement. "Our officers and troopers should know just how much we value them, their sacrifice, and their hard work."