Ceremony keeps memory alive

Police mark anniversary of officer killed in line of duty

Naugatuck police Lt. Bryan Cammarata, left, and Deputy Police Chief Josh Bernegger carry a wreath to lay at the foot of the flag pole in front of the Naugatuck Police Department Monday morning during a brief ceremony to mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of borough police Officer Nancy Nichols. Nichols was killed March 17, 1991, when she was struck by a car after stopping to help a fellow officer. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Naugatuck police Lt. Bryan Cammarata, left, and Deputy Police Chief Josh Bernegger carry a wreath to lay at the foot of the flag pole in front of the Naugatuck Police Department Monday morning during a brief ceremony to mark the 23rd anniversary of the death of borough police Officer Nancy Nichols. Nichols was killed March 17, 1991, when she was struck by a car after stopping to help a fellow officer. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — A plaque is mounted on the wall in the lobby of the Naugatuck Police Department in memory of the life of borough police Officer Nancy Nichols, who was killed in the line of duty 23 years ago.

Sometimes the plaques in the department can become part of the building and blend into the background, Lt. Bryan Cammarata said Monday morning as he stood in the lobby. To ensure the memory of Nichols doesn’t fade, the department marks the anniversary of her death every year with a ceremony.

“The sacrifice that Nancy made 23 years ago today is important that it should be noticed by every officer,” Cammarata said.

Nichols was killed on March 17, 1991, when she was struck by a car after stopping to help a fellow officer. She was on patrol on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day when she pulled over on Route 68 to see if a fellow officer needed assistance with a traffic stop. As she walked down the side of the road, a Buick Somerset Regal hit her and threw her about 50 feet. She was rushed to Saint Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, where she died of internal injuries.

Nancy Nichols

Nancy Nichols

Nichols, who is survived by a son, was 34 at the time of her death. She was Naugatuck’s first female police officer and became the first female officer in Connecticut to die in the line of duty.

On Monday morning officers and family members gathered outside the department for a brief ceremony to honor the 23rd anniversary of Nichols’ death. The day was marked with a wreath laying at the flag pole in front of the department. The wreath will be brought to Nichols’ grave on Tuesday.

Cammarata placed flyers that depicted the events of March 17, 1991 and had a picture of Nichols on the desk or in the mailbox of every officer. A rose also rested on the memorial photo of Nichols in the department. Cammarata said he wanted to make sure the officers were aware of what March 17 marks.

“We want them to remember the sacrifice that Nichols made today,” Cammarata said.

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