Police honor memory of fallen officer

Lt. Brian Newman, right, of the Naugatuck Police Department raises the American flag to half mast as Sgt. Randy Ireland salutes Sunday morning in front of the department on Spring Street during a memorial service to honor Officer Nancy Nichols. Nichols was killed 22 years ago in the line of duty. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Lt. Brian Newman, right, of the Naugatuck Police Department raises the American flag to half mast as Sgt. Randy Ireland salutes Sunday morning in front of the department on Spring Street during a memorial service to honor Officer Nancy Nichols. Nichols was killed 22 years ago in the line of duty. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Police Department paid tribute to the memory of Officer Nancy Nichols on Sunday — the 22nd anniversary of the day she was killed in the line of duty.

Nichols was killed on March 17, 1991, which was also a Sunday, 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.

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

Every year since her death, the department has held a memorial service on March 17 to honor Nichols. On Sunday morning, Naugatuck police officers and borough officials stood along side Nichols’ family and friends in front of the police department on Spring Street for a brief memorial service that included raising the American flag to half mast and 22 seconds of radio silence in her memory.

“We want to mark this day every year and remember what she did and the sacrifice that she made,” Lt. Bryan Cammarata said. “It is important to every one of us here at the department to continue to remember that not just on this day but every day of the year.”