NAUGATUCK — A small, anonymous gesture has left a large impression on the Naugatuck Police Department.
Last Friday morning, officers found a bouquet of flowers at the base of the flagpole in front of the department on Spring Street. The flowers were left in the wake of five police officers being killed in Dallas, Texas by a sniper the night before. Several other officers and civilians were also injured in the shooting that occurred during a protest in Dallas.
Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata posted photos of the flowers on Facebook with a brief message.
“It seems like our profession is on a roller coaster of feelings and emotions aimed towards policing based on the series of different events that seem to occur almost daily. … It’s tough times for the career of a police officer. … But it’s the career we all took an oath for regardless of the times, good or bad,” Cammarata wrote in the post.
The post went viral, and as of Monday it had more than 3,000 likes and had been shared more than 1,000 times. The post also sparked another gesture of support as boxes of donuts with supportive messages written inside were dropped off at the department shortly after the post.
“It’s definitely uplifting to know that there is support out there,” Cammarata said in a phone interview.
The “roller coaster of feelings and emotions” Cammarata referred includes the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. in June.
“They responded because there was a mass shooting and people were in danger,” said Cammarata about the officers that responded to the nightclub and were lauded for their actions.
Last week, two police-involved shootings involving white officers and black men, one in Louisiana and the other in in Minnesota, have sparked protests, some of which have turned violent, across the country. The deaths of the two men preceded the shootings in Dallas.
In the wake of police-involved shootings or use-of-force incidents, Cammarata said, some headlines in the media perpetuate the image of cops killing people and jump to conclusions without knowing all the facts first.
“We (police officers) understand we all get painted with the brush,” Cammarata said.
Cammarata, who has been a police officer for 23 years, said there are numerous incidents involving officers that have drawn their weapons but are able to use their training to defuse a situation that go unreported. Speaking for the Naugatuck Police Department, he added, the officers are continually going through training that constantly evolves, as does the department’s practices and procedures.
As the country continues to grapple with the aftermath of the shootings last week, Cammarata said the flowers left at the department said a lot.
“It’s a small gesture, but it’s a huge gesture,” he said. “It says we’re thinking of all you guys and we support you guys.”
Residents of Prospect have also shown their support for police officers by dropping off cookies, home-cooked meals, bagels, and Dunkin Donuts gift cards at the Prospect Police Department, the department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday.
“We appreciate your support, compassion, and recognition of our officers in a time of profound sorrow throughout the country,” the Prospect Police Department posted.