The entire Newtown police force had a much-needed day off on Christmas, and Shelton police were among the local police departments that helped make it happen.
Shelton’s own police Chief Joel Hurliman worked most of Christmas Day.
“A lot of people have given them a lot of hours. I don’t think I’m unique,” Hurliman said. “Chief Robin Montgomery of Brookfield pulled the midnight shift on Christmas Eve.”
Newtown police have been working nonstop since the Dec. 14 school shooting that resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six adults, devastating the community.
The Newtown department had a full 24 hours off, from midnight on Christmas Eve to midnight Christmas night.
“This had to be done,” Hurliman said. “When an incident like this happens, you need to rely on outside support.”
The Shelton department didn’t offer help only for the holiday — officers and dispatchers began helping soon after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, according to Lt. Robert Kozlowsky.
“Within a day or so of the incident, they started to officially request help and we started sending guys,” Kozlowsky said. “They asked for dispatchers to fill in certain shifts, and officers were down there helping direct traffic, providing security at schools and various duties.”
Kozlowsky said Chief Hurliman was also there several times to give administrative help.
“We were just there to assist because you get so overwhelmed after an incident like this,” Kozlowsky said.
Hurliman was also among police to help provide comfort to families who lost their loved ones in the tragedy.
CNN.com reported on the day off given to Newtown police, saying that police from Monroe, Brookfield, Danbury, Bethel, and Milford were also part of the effort.
After the holiday, Newtown police planned to resume all duties, but Chief Hurliman is still offering any assistance needed.
“If they need it, we offer it,” the chief said.
After the holiday break, Shelton police will continue to have an increased presence at Shelton schools, Hurliman said, an effort that started as soon as school was back in session following the Newtown shooting.